SBD/2/Sports Industrialists

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  • EXECUTIVE TRANSACTIONS

         PAUL BEESTON has been appointed President & CEO of SkyDome
    Corp (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL)....BRAD BOWLING is now PR Supervisor
    at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  He was formerly the editor of
    Old Cars Weekly News & Marketplace (NASCAR NEWS)....ERNIE ELS has
    joined the staff of GOLF DIGEST as a playing editor (CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 6/2).
    

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  • NAMES IN THE NEWS

         TIM MARA, Former Co-Owner of the New York Giants died
    yesterday of Hodgkin's Disease (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/2)....
    GLENN BURKE, a former outfielder for the Dodgers and the
    Athletics, died Tuesday due to complications from AIDS (CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 6/2)....DARIN ERSTAD, the No. 1 pick in yesterday's MLB
    draft, has signed with agents JEFF MOORAD and LEIGH STEINBERG,
    making Moorad & Steinberg the first sports law firm ever to
    represent the first overall picks in football and baseball in the
    same year.  The firm represents KI-JANA CARTER (Steinberg &
    Moorad)....Jaguars VP/Football Ops MICHAEL HUYGHUE is profiled in
    today's N.Y. TIMES as "one of the highest ranking black
    officials" in the NFL .  Huyghue, 33, on his position:  "The age
    thing is probably more challenging than the color thing"  (N.Y.
    TIMES, 6/2).
    

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  • NEAL PILSON LEAVES CBS TO START MEDIA CONSULTING FIRM

         Neal Pilson, former President of CBS Sports, has announced
    the formation of his own sports television marketing and
    consulting company, Pilson Communications.  Since '94, Pilson has
    served as Senior VP CBS/Broadcast Group.  Pilson spoke with THE
    SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY earlier this week on his venture, as well
    as the state of network sports and the future of the industry.
    Excerpts follow:
         THE DAILY:  What was your primary motivation for starting
    Pilson Communications?
         PILSON:  I'm taking the expertise and experience that I've
    developed over 25 years in television, and 19 of those at CBS
    Sports, to offer my consulting, advisory, packaging, marketing,
    media skills to companies, people, organizations in the sports
    television business.  People who want to get in the business,
    people who are already in the business but want to improve their
    situation, people who need advice regarding television,
    international clients who might want guidance in terms of the
    American marketplace.  Sports television has changed dramatically
    in the years that I've been involved with the business.  When I
    joined in 1976, there were really only three potential purchasers
    -- the three networks.  Now, there are dozens of possibilities
    for a sports event or franchise.  And while the marketplace has
    gotten more accessible in the sense that there are many more
    companies and sports channels that will televise events, it has
    gotten much more complex and much more competitive.
         THE DAILY:  Who will you be representing?
         PILSON:  They could be companies looking for sports, or
    sports looking for companies, or events looking for coverage.  I
    already have several clients and each one is totally different
    from the other. ... I will be doing all the television work for
    NASCAR, and also the International Speedway Corporation, which
    actually controls the television rights to events like the
    Daytona 500, the Pepsi 400, the Talladega 500, The Bud at The
    Glen, the Darlington race.
         THE DAILY:  What are some things to look for in terms of new
    companies getting into sports, or new approaches to sports on
    network TV?
         PILSON:  Look at the success of the Brickyard 400 in terms
    of generating official sponsors.  The official sponsors operate
    in connection with the event itself and the television broadcast
    -- all controlled by the Indianapolis Speedway.  They literally
    bought the time on the networks and sold the advertising and
    sponsorships directly.  I think there is a very strong
    marketplace out there for sports in general, and for auto racing
    in particular.
         THE DAILY:  Is that arrangement -- a sport property
    controlling the broadcast -- a trend that will continue?
         PILSON:  It will continue.  There are some very
    sophisticated marketing executives who now are involved with
    sports directly.  They're not at the agencies, they're not at the
    networks -- they're with the sports events.  And certainly some
    of the major sports franchises have the type of expertise and
    confidence to get into that business. ... But while I think it is
    a trend that will continue, it is a trend that does demand a high
    level of sophistication.  What you're really doing is shifting
    the risk.  Instead of taking a rights fee and letting the network
    worry about the sales side, you're controlling the sales and
    paying the network for its air time.  It's a high reward, high
    risk strategy.  So I don't see it becoming a widespread
    phenomenon, but very strong events with very good, direct
    relationships with advertisers and sponsors will be looking at
    that route.
         THE DAILY:  Is the explosion of outlets carrying sports the
    biggest change in sports TV since you've started?
         PILSON:  The change has been kind of cumulative.  Each
    change has created more change.  With the accessibility now of so
    much channel capacity, the ability to get on so many different
    channels, and the advent of so many new sports themselves -- it
    has been a sea change.  And what has happened is that the
    advertising marketplace has changed.  Advertisers now see sports
    in a different light than they did 20 years ago.  Then, they
    bought inventory, they simply bought commercial time.  Now,
    they're trying to embrace the sport with signage and billboards
    and sponsorship.  The net effect is that sports today is a much
    more important part of the broadcast medium than it was 20 years
    ago.
         THE DAILY:  With Rupert Murdoch's presence and CBS looking
    to get more active, is there more that networks can do to protect
    the sports properties that they have?
         PILSON:  What a network can do, and in many cases they are
    doing, is to seek to negotiate their deals before the end of the
    existing term.  NBC did that with the NBA, CBS did it with the
    NCAA basketball tournament.  Basically, in return for not going
    into the marketplace, the licensor agrees to make a deal but
    expects the network to step up to the anticipated level of that
    marketplace.  So, the network gets to keep the event, but the
    licensor -- in return for foregoing to opportunity to go into an
    auction -- expects to, and generally gets, a much higher license
    fee.
         THE DAILY:  Should we expect more of that?
         PILSON:  The networks are trying to protect their
    franchises, and their experience seems to be that if they let it
    get out into the marketplace it usually gets more expensive to
    renew it.  So, you will see as a trend the networks trying to
    negotiate before the expiration of their deals.  At that point,
    they can offer something to their contracting parties that no one
    else can -- an increase in the current arrangement in return for
    the extended term.
         THE DAILY:  How would new ownership at CBS affect the way
    that network covers sports?
          PILSON:  A lot depends on where CBS is in terms of its
    competitive position at the time that any sports property comes
    up for negotiation.  For example, if -- by the time the NFL
    rights come up for renewal -- CBS by that point is the No. 1
    network, it will have returned to No. 1 prominence without the
    NFL.  And my guess is that it would certainly impact its view of
    the importance of the NFL to its overall schedule.  On the other
    hand, if CBS is still No. 3, its position in respect to the NFL
    or perhaps some other major sports property might be different.
    And that would probably be true whether it's new ownership or old
    ownership.
         THE DAILY:  What are your thoughts on the role of the
    networks in the information highway?  You speak of offering to
    help clients find their way through the maze of media
    opportunities.  Is multimedia on that map as well?
         PILSON:  Yes, I think so.  You see the networks seeking to
    provide the widest possible linkage, service and exposure for
    their sponsors and advertisers and their business.  So, certainly
    down the road we're going to see the networks broadening their
    reach any way possible.  That doesn't mean the networks are
    struggling to survive.  I think the networks are really ahead of
    the curve now. ... Each is only one of four entities that reach
    into every American home.
    

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