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The CBC won the Canadian broadcast rights to the '98 Nagano Games, bidding a "record" $16M to edge out CTV. CBC officials stressed that they "will not use a cent of taxpayer money" for the rights and expect to make a profit from the planned 240 hours of broadcast. CBC VP Jim Byrd: "Our bid was based on having a profit margin if we sell 80 percent of our [advertising] inventory. We're confident." The broadcasters went through two rounds of bidding before IOC VP/Broadcasting Richard Pound. CTV opened at $14M, CBC's opening bid was undisclosed. Since the two were within 10% of each other, Pound allowed them to make adjustments. CTV went up to $14.5M, losing out by $1.5M. To this point, Nagano has brought in $375M from the U.S., $73M from Europe and $16M from Canada. The remaining markets are Australia and Japan itself (James Christie, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/2). Japanese officials reportedly told the Canadian bidders that operating costs in their country will be at least 70% more than in Lillehammer in '94 -- an estimate which one industry source believes may be "conservative" (Ken McKee, TORONTO STAR, 6/2).
At the annual CBS affiliates meeting in L.A. yesterday, a "surprisingly unified" group heard from CBS/Broadcast President Peter Lund and "expressed relief that the network's guidance was in the hands of a broadcaster who understands their problems, rather than CBS Inc. Chairman Larry Tisch," according to Daniel Cerone in today's L.A. TIMES. Lund "made a good impression, defusing what was expected to be a fireworks display." Lund's strategy centers around a "complete overhaul" of prime-time to attract "younger, more urban viewers" (L.A. TIMES, 6/2). Today, affiliates hear of CBS' marketing and promotional initiatives for '95-96 (AD AGE ONLINE, 6/2). Last night, "Nightly Business Report's" Kevin Smith examined the "tough year" CBS has had. Ralph Gabbard, of the CBS Affiliate Board: "I would say that the majority believe that it's time for Mr. Tisch to sell" (PBS, 6/1).
fX, Fox Broadcasting's cable channel, will begin a weekly Sunday night sports show on September 3 from Fox Sports' studios in L.A. (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/2)....In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes that NHL ratings on St. Louis' Fox affiliate, KDNL-Channel 20, have dropped to a 2.1 since the Blues were eliminated from the playoffs. The 7.5 average for Blues games on Fox had been the second-best in the nation, behind Detroit (ST. LOUIS POST- DISPATCH, 6/2). ....In L.A., Larry Stewart says the "writing is on the wall" for Bill Walton to become top NBA analyst on NBC next season, although NBC execs maintain that Matt Guokas will be back with Marv Albert (L.A. TIMES, 6/2)....Raycom and the Major College Baseball Alliance have joined to "create, manage and televise" the first MCBA All-Star Game, in a three-year deal announced by Raycom CEO Rock Ray. The inaugural game is set for April '96 (Raycom)....One line Marv Albert left out of his USA TODAY TV column yesterday: "NewSports' Fred Edelstein says Al Davis will either keep the Raiders in Los Angeles or he won't" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 6/2)....In an interview with BROADCASTING & CABLE, CNN News President Tom Johnson said the cable network is considering an all-business news channel (B&C, 5/29 issue).
USA Today has opened a public Web site to accompany its subscription-only service. The public site is located at http://www.usatoday.com. From the public home page, users can go to five "section fronts" -- News, Sports, Money, Life and Weather -- with each providing top stories. The pay service includes sports scores that are updated as games are in progress and full game summaries and analyses for all major and most other professional sports (USA Today). AOL TO LAUNCH NET-ONLY SERVICE: America Online will offer an Internet-only service "separate from its flagship service," according to the WALL STREET JOURNAL. AOL's Net service will launch August 24, the same day Microsoft kicks off The Microsoft Network (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/2).