SBD/18/Sports Media

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         The Baseball Network received a 6.5 rating and a 13 share in
    Nielsen overnight ratings for its Saturday night debut of
    "Baseball Night in America."  Viewership is down 13.3% from last
    year's opener (Steve Zipay, NEWSDAY, 7/18). ....One NBC exec,
    reiterating that the net is not interested in bidding on
    baseball:  "It's not like we're losing something -- it's more
    like, 'Yippie!'  Baseball is a declining sport" (ELECTRONIC
    MEDIA, 7/17 issue)....HBO Sports has announced the hiring of
    Nicole Watson, a reporter and host for Turner Sports, to join the
    "Inside the NFL" team as a reporter.  Also, HBO's July 30 edition
    of "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" includes a piece on Lenny
    Dykstra produced by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple (HBO).
    The Dykstra piece includes his comments on the strike and his
    belief that letting Fay Vincent go as commissioner was baseball's
    "biggest mistake" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/18).

    Print | Tags: HBO, NBC, NFL, Media

         ABC SPORTS:  Cap Cities/ABC and Stella Interactive Inc. have
    announced a partnership to "produce and develop a series of
    interactive college sports CD-ROM reference titles in conjunction
    with ABC Sports."  The "College Sports Series" features ABC's
    Keith Jackson hosting an "interactive tour" through the archives
    of six teams.  Stella Interactive has licensing agreements with
    Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Florida State and Penn
    State.  The disks will be available in August and September (Cap
         NBC SPORTS:  RealTime Sports, NBC Sports and NBC Digital
    Publishing have announced the release of "The '95-96 NFL
    Interactive Yearbook" -- called the "ultimate multimedia guide to
    the NFL."  Hosting will be NBC analyst Phil Simms.  The
    "Yearbook" will feature stats, '94 reviews, '95 previews, info on
    the expansion teams, merchandise sales, and a "free online
    service to provide seamless downloading of the latest NFL
    statistics and previews" (NBC).
         SI FOR KIDS:  SI For Kids has launched a site on the World
    Wide Web as an "integral part" of Pathfinder's "Kid's Stuff" --
    an area on the net dedicated to kids.  Located at, the SI For Kids site includes a
    home page, features from that month's issue, a sports quiz,
    contributions from readers, an Olympic countdown, and stories on
    games and software (SI for Kids).
         DIGITAL SHAQ:  Microsoft Chair Bill Gates and Shaquille
    O'Neal unveil Shaq World, an online feature on the soon-to-be-
    launched Microsoft Network, at a Microsoft Multimedia Conference
    today near L.A.  Featured:  Stats for the Magic and other NBA
    teams, the "Shaq Paq" for kids, Shaq's diary, "The Show" -- a
    look at Shaq's entertainment ventures, and a "Cyber Shop."  Shaq
    World, designed by Magnet Interactive Studios, will carry ads,
    but no sponsors have been announced (Dottie Enrico, USA TODAY,

    Print | Tags: ABC, Microsoft, NBA, NBC, NFL, Orlando Magic, Sports Illustrated, Media, Walt Disney

         Westinghouse Electric Corp. is planning to make a bid to buy
    CBS from Chair Laurence Tisch, according to multiple reports this
    morning.  Yesterday, CBS' stock jumped 4 1/8 after CNBC financial
    analyst Dan Dorfman reported that Westinghouse was preparing a
    bid for $83 a share.  Tisch, who has publicly maintained that the
    net is not for sale, has been said to holding out for at least
    $80 a share.  The N.Y. TIMES, which reports that the deal would
    be for about $5.8B in cash, adds that the deal "has its logic"
    (Geraldine Fabrikant, N.Y. TIMES, 7/18).  The WALL STREET JOURNAL
    cautions that "talks could continue for a long time," and that
    the offer could be used by Tisch to "start an auction." Merging
    CBS and Westinghouse, however, would create the largest TV
    station group in the U.S., covering 32% of TV homes
    (Jensen/Narisetti, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/18).  USA TODAY lists
    the positives and negatives, noting that four of Group W's
    stations are CBS affils.  However, Barry Diller, another long-
    rumored CBS suitor, "is said to be telling friends that a deal
    with Group W would set CBS back 10 years" (David Lieberman, USA
    TODAY, 7/18).
         LABATT BROADCAST ARM FINALLY SOLD:  Belgian Brewer Intrebrew
    S.A. confirmed the sale of Labatt Communications Inc. (LCI) to a
    consortium led by LCI management for about C$605M, according to
    this morning's FINANCIAL POST.  LCI's assets include TSN -- The
    Sports Network, 80% of the Discovery Channel, 25% of Viewer's
    Choice pay-per-view, Dome Productions, the Rep Shoppe, an ad
    sales agency, 35% in NTN Canada, an interactive TV company, and
    RDS, the French-language sports channel.  Investors in the LCI
    group include Stephen Bronfman (28.6%), pension fund manager
    Caisse de depot and placement du Quebec (28.6%), Reitman's Ltd.
    (21%), and ABC/Cap Cities' ESPN (20%).  The path is now clear for
    finalization of Labatt's sale to Intrebrew, with other non-
    brewery assets, the Blue Jays, Argonauts and 42% of SkyDome also
    likely to be sold (Paul Brent, FINANCIAL POST, 7/18).       FOX
    AFFILS NOT SOLD ON BASEBALL:  Fox will have a "hard sell" to get
    affiliates to buy into the concept of Saturday afternoon
    baseball, according to BROADCASTING & CABLE.  Fox affils
    contacted by B&C said that Saturday games "would fly in the face
    of Fox's 'less-is-more' philosophy, which touts fewer hours of
    network programming so that stations can take full advantage of
    local and syndication programming and sales opportunities."
    Affiliate execs in twelve markets said they all experienced
    revenue losses from Fox's Sunday afternoon NHL coverage (Steve
    McClellan, B&C, 7/17 issue).

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, Labatt Brewing, NHL, Media, Toronto Blue Jays, Viacom, Walt Disney

         "In the 1995-96 NFL marketplace, it is the sellers -- the
    networks -- who reign," according to Langdon Brockinton in INSIDE
    MEDIA.  Just before July 4, ABC, NBC and Fox have already sold
    nearly 90% of their "respective inventory" for the upcoming
    season, and demand is so strong that NFL ad time has "commanded
    substantial rate hikes -- generally, 12-18 percent on a cost per
    thousand basis -- over last season's prices."
         THE COST:  Some media buyers report that Fox is now asking
    advertisers for a "whopping" $600,000 per 30-second on the
    network's NFC Championship Game.  Fox's "goal is to make the
    value of the NFC Championship more proportionately equivalent to
    the worth of the Super Bowl."  Likewise, NBC has sold close to
    all of its playoff ad time and 85% of Super Bowl XXX ad time.
    Despite the AFC's rating resurgence last year, Fox is still
    charging "a bit more than NBC for commercial time: on average,
    $130,000-$140,00 per :30, versus $120,000-$130,000."  Monday
    Night Football on ABC will go from $275,000 to $300,000 per 30-
    second.  Overall, Fox reportedly may have surpassed its '94-95
    NFL ad revenue total of $275M, and NBC and TNT are not far
         WHO'S IN THE MIX:  Domestic automakers continue to spend
    heavily, as do computer marketers and credit card companies.  IBM
    has a deal with Fox, and AmEx has renewed deals with both NBC and
    Fox to be the sole credit card advertiser during playoff
    coverage.  New companies, such as Volkswagen -- who will spend
    $10M on Fox this season -- have also "flooded the gridiron
    marketplace."  Some auto brands, such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, and
    Toyota/Lexus -- signed four-year agreements with ABC and NBC
    before last season after the league signed a new TV deal, "thus
    the two networks locked in a lot of auto money for the long
    term."  One agency exec:  "Advertisers that cut multiyear deals
    must be feeling pretty happy.  And the people who moved early in
    the market did a little better pricewise -- especially if they
    bought before the primetime marketplace moved in earnest"
    (Langdon Brockinton, INSIDE MEDIA, 7/12 issue).

    Print | Tags: ABC, American Express, IBM, NBC, NFL, Media, Turner Sports, Toyota, Walt Disney
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