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In this morning's GLOBE & MAIL, Marty York reports that ESPN has offered the CFL a $1.5M contract to show 22 CFL games a season on ESPN and ESPN2 for the next three seasons. However, York writes that, "while the CFL is in dire need of additional income as well as national television exposure in the United States, the league's owners are divided on the proposal and may wind up rejecting it." Owners of the Shreveport and Baltimore franchises are concerned that the broadcasting games on ESPN2 "may actually be damaging the league's credibility and image," because of the Deuce's image as "something of a junk sports network." Shreveport Pirates Owner Bernie Glieberman: "Money is not the issue here. Credibility is. I don't consider ESPN2 major television. I don't think it's doing us much good. Do we want our product on the same network that covers street luge?" York notes that Glieberman is supported by Baltimore Co-Owner Michael Gelfand, who is becoming "increasingly influential." Glieberman says the league needs "major television" to survive. Glieberman: "Right now, we have an identity crisis in the States. Americans have a distorted perception of the CFL. They look at the CFL like it's some weird sport like rugby or something like that. ... We certainly can't stand back and think we're helping ourselves because ESPN2 does some of our games" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/11). ONE MAN'S JUNK ... York reports that if CFL owners can't persuade ESPN to carry its games on the flagship network, "don't be surprised if Glieberman et al go knocking on Ted Turner's door. Hooking up with the Turner broadcasting empire makes far more business sense. It might just be a question of whether Turner considers the CFL too much of a junk sport for his taste" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/11).
ESPN Personalities Chris Berman, Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Charlie Steiner and Mike Tirico are featured in Hootie & The Blowfish's newest video: "Only Wanna Be With You." The video ran yesterday on VH-1 and premieres today on MTV (ESPN). ESPN spokesperson Rob Tobias told THE DAILY the network is not authorized to show the video until MTV premieres it, but there are plans to use parts of it in SportsCenter broadcasts (THE DAILY)....In Milwaukee, ratings for Brewers broadcasts are down 21% on WVTV. The team averaged a 15 share last year and is only drawing an 11.8 share in '95 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL)....Bay Area radio station KNEW is the front runner in the competition for the Raiders' rights fees, according to C.W. Nevius. Nevius reports that the Raiders are "virtually insisting the games be carried on AM and FM," and that KNEW could use sister FM station KSAN (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/11)....Interbrew SA is "playing a cat- and-mouse" game with the three bidders for John Labatt's broadcast assets, according to THE FINANCIAL POST. Sources say the three bidders -- Baton Broadcasting, CanWest Global and Alliance -- are being driven to bid higher in a "giant game of chicken" (FINANCIAL POST, 7/11). ... News Corp. has struck a deal to develop a satellite broadcasting unit in Latin America with Brasil's Globo Organization. Eben Shapiro writes that with the move, News Corp "is aiming at a market with 400 million people and 65 million households with TV sets" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/11)....The latest issue of AD AGE critiques Ticketmaster's web site. A sampling of the comments: "Getting concert and event info here is much more effective and pleasant than spending 20 minutes on hold on the phone." The address: http://www.ticketmaster.com (AD AGE, 7/10 issue).... Sanyo will put the first 3D televisions on sale this week in Japan. To receive the full effect, viewers are required to wear battery- operated glasses (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/11)....In Baltimore, Milton Kent bashes ESPN for its refusal to tell viewers who won the All- Star Home Run hitting contest on last night's 6:30pm EDT "SportsCenter." The network, which aired a tape of the contest after "SportsCenter," showed highlights but did not give the winner. The SUN's Kent: "A news-gathering organization shouldn't play fast and loose with facts" (Baltimore SUN, 7/11).
Chicago-based One-On-One Sports, Inc., has acquired SportsRadio Network of Las Vegas, boosting its sports talk affiliate base from 170 to more than 290 stations. SportsRadio stations switched to One-On-One programming June 29. Major market stations added to the One-On-One network include WCNN in Atlanta, KGU in Honolulu, WRVH in Richmond, and WPRO in Providence. One-On-One, which claims to be "the fastest-growing 24-hour sports radio network in the U.S.," began in '93 with the acquisition of the Sports Entertainment Network. Other One-On- One affiliates include WINZ in Miami, KFNS in St. Louis, WUBE in Cincinnati, KFXX in Portland, OR, and KHTK in Sacramento (One-On- One).