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HBO's average national rating for the first two broadcast dates at Wimbledon is up 113% over last year. The '95 average rating is a 1.7/5 share, compared to a 0.8/3 in '94 (HBO Sports)....With the close of the NBA season, CNN is replacing "This Week in the NBA" with one hour editions of "Sports Today" and Sunday "Sports Tonight" (CNN)....The 12th annual NHL Awards Television Special will be carried live July 6 on CBC and shown on tape delay by ESPN (NHL)....Prime will air "Baseball at the Break," a live two-hour show previewing the MLB All-Star Game on July 10 (Prime Sports). ...."There is a growing possibility" that the Maple Leafs will part ways with The Fan 590 in Toronto. According to David Shoalts, "Telemedia isn't willing to pay" more than C$700,000 for radio rights to the '95-96. Molson is reportedly asking C$1.2M (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/30).... KMAX, L.A.'s only all-sports radio station, will serve as the flagship station of the IHL Ice Dogs and broadcast all games during the 1995-96 season (Ice Dogs)....With its first-ever annual profit in hand ("in the $2 million range"), DC's all-sports WTEM-AM is "seriously crunching the numbers to see if it makes sense" to go after rights to the Capitals (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 6/30).
Ticketmaster has launched "Ticketmaster Online," an Internet guide to event information, entertainment news, venue information, and ticket prices. Components of the service include: "Events" -- information on over 10,000 live events sold through Ticketmaster; "Connections" -- information on 2,700 ticket centers, a list of charge-by-phone numbers, and seating charts for more than 400 venues; and, "Backstage" -- editorial contributions from VARIETY and EXTRA magazine. Ticketmaster Online is updated up to 12 times per hour and produced by ESPN partner Starwave. Address: http://www.ticketmaster.com (Ticketmaster).
Robin Roberts has signed a deal through 2001 with ESPN and ABC Sports. In addition to hosting the 6:30 pm EDT edition of "SportsCenter," Roberts will host ABC's "Wide World of Sports"; host and do play-by-play for ESPN's NCAA women's basketball coverage; anchor "SportsCenter" at Wimbledon and U.S. Open tennis; and continue to host "Sunday SportsDay" and "In the SportsLight" (ESPN). The six-year deal is reportedly worth $650,000/year. Roberts: "People can't remember a woman being given this kind of variety. I really want to do a good job because I think that will make it easier for women, particularly women of color, to succeed in this business (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/29). ONE MAN'S PERSPECTIVE OF LIFE ON THE EDGE: In this morning's N.Y. TIMES, Richard Sandomir asks if ESPN's Extreme Games are "bad for America" or even "good TV"? While clearly not a fan of the "weekend psycho Olympics," Sandomir believes "in virtually every technical way, ESPN and ESPN2 were excellent, using every camera possible -- on helmets, courses, walls, toes, eyelashes, nostrils, and toenails -- to enliven the events" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/30). SPECIAL OLYMPICS: Domestically, ESPN and ESPN2 will present 11 hours of coverage from the 1995 Special Olympics World Games, which kick-off tomorrow and run through July 9. ESPN Int'l will telecast the games to 115 countries (ESPN).