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         The ratings gap between the NBA on NBC and the NHL on Fox
    (last weekend's NBA games drew four times more viewers than the
    NHL) "proved again that hockey remains a regional sport, in spite
    of the optimism and clever promotion on the part of Fox,"
    according to Jack Craig in this morning's BOSTON GLOBE.  Craig
    writes that Fox is "up against a longtime theory, which holds
    that television can enhance interest everywhere but not originate
    it anywhere. ... For all of its legendary influence, TV has never
    taken up a mainline sport and lit a fire in regions in which
    there previously had been little or no interest."  Based on Fox's
    first year with the NHL, Craig calls the net's $155M deal over
    five years a "bad bet" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/31).
         ELECTION NIGHT:  Because of the Ontario provincial election
    on June 8, the CBC cannot broadcast Game 4 of the NHL Western
    Conference finals.  TSN has offered to carry the game in Ontario
    (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/31).  Sources say CBC is trying to find
    other ways to keep the Ontario market, including appealing to
    local community cable channels to carry the game (Rob Longley,
    TORONTO SUN, 5/31).
         BY-THE-NUMBERS:  The NBA's games this weekend averaged an
    8.6 rating, up 16% from last year -- including a 9.5 for Indiana-
    Orlando on Memorial Day.  According to Richard Sandomir, NBC
    enters its prime time telecasts knowing that having lost teams
    from the top media markets "is not a death knell for ratings"
    (N.Y. TIMES, 5/31).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes, "Let's
    finally put to rest any notion that the uptick in NBA ratings is
    solely Michael Jordan-driven (Baltimore SUN, 5/31).  Overnights
    for Fox's Devils-Penguins game on Sunday slipped to "a low" of
    1.9.  While ESPN's NHL ratings are down 10% from '94, ESPN's Tom
    Mees believes they will go up now that local blackouts are lifted
    for the conference finals (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 5/31).  The
    Indy 500 averaged an 8.6/26 in overnights -- a 1% gain over the
    8.5/26 it got in '94 (AD AGE ONLINE, 5/31).

    Print | Tags: CBC, ESPN, NBA, NBC, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, Media, Walt Disney

         Rupert Murdoch told Canada's FINANCIAL POST that News Corp.
    has decided against bidding for the worldwide TV rights to the
    2000 Sydney Summer Games, because it is "too complicated."
    However, he remains "very interested" in the U.S. TV rights
    (FINANCIAL POST, 5/31)....ESPN has announced an agreement with
    the Atlantic 10 to provide ESPN with national cable exclusivity
    to the conference's men's basketball telecasts.  ESPN will air a
    Saturday afternoon game-of-the-week, select interconference games
    and the A-10 championship; ESPN2 will air a Monday night game-of-
    the-week, three tournament quarterfinals and the women's
    championship game (ESPN)....Bob Gordon, GM of Boston's Channel
    68, denied reports that his station was not interested in bidding
    on the Red Sox when WSBK's contract expires at the end of this
    year (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/31)....Cox Enterprises, owner of Tampa's
    WSUN-AM, has entered into a partnership with rival WFNS-AM to
    jointly carry Lightning games next season.  Lightning
    spokesperson Gerry Helper:  "Anything that increases the reach
    and availability of our games in the marketplace is something we
    welcome (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/31)....Sports Media Inc., publisher of
    Pro Sports Team Yearbooks, has announced the renewal of its Bulls
    contract, the addition of the S.F. Giants, and marketing
    agreements with AmEx and Midwest Air (Sports Media)....CBS
    affiliates hold their annual meeting this week in L.A., with
    Ralph Gabbard, Chair of the CBS Affiliates Advisory Board, airing
    comments critical of CBS Chair Laurence Tisch in advance of the
    sessions (N.Y. POST, 5/31).

    Print | Tags: American Express, Boston Red Sox, CBS, Chicago Bulls, ESPN, Media, Tampa Bay Lightning, Viacom, Walt Disney

         Microsoft's exclusive online service agreement with NBC,
    signed earlier this month, launched "the first volley in what
    promises to be a ferocious battle over one of the hottest growth
    industries in the country," according to Julie Pitta in today's
    L.A. TIMES.  The Microsoft Network (MSN) "poses a mortal threat"
    to the so-called "Big Three"   -- Prodigy, America Online and
    Compuserve.  But they "do not intend to go down without a fight."
    In addition to improving their own software and connections to
    the Web, the existing commercial online services are pushing the
    Justice Department to look into MSN, as Justice did with
    Microsoft's Intuit deal (L.A. TIMES, 5/31).  With MSN and AT&T's
    Interchange due this summer, the Big Three are readying ad
    campaigns.  Cliff Freeman, whose agency handles Prodigy:  "The
    on-line service wars in the '90s will be what the fast-food,
    soft-drink and sneaker battles were in the '70s and '80s"
    (Melanie Wells, USA TODAY, 5/31).
         ONLINE NEWS & NOTES:  The USGA will offer results and
    information from the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Women's
    Open on the internet.  UNISYS will be responsible for
    transferring info to the Web for the USGA.  Address: (USGA)....Compuserve expects to double its
    European subscribers by the end of FY '96 and open a European HQs
    next fall (REUTERS, 5/30)....In S.F., columnist C.W. Nevius
    reviews the sports options online and reports, "As usual, ESPN is
    leading the pack" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/31).

    Print | Tags: ATT, ESPN, Microsoft, NBC, Media, USGA, Walt Disney
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