SBD/5/Sports Media

ESPN TO CONTINUE EXTREME GAMES IN '96

     ESPN will "stage and televise" the second Extreme Games in
'96, according to an announcement by ESPN Senior VP/Event
Management Jeff Ruhe.  Ruhe:  "Our plan was to stage the Extreme
Games every two years, but as a result of the tremendous success
of the inaugural event, it will return in 1996.  ESPN has
received an extremely positive reaction from athletes, viewers,
advertisers and affiliates which has led us to this decision"
(ESPN).  In Monday's USA TODAY, Michael Hiestand called for an
end to the "tiresome debate" of whether the Games were made up of
"real" sports.  Hiestand:  "Something is a real sport if people
in it compete hard and somebody wants to watch."  ESPN's Ruhe
said the Games might be shortened to five or six days next year,
and that several cities are interested.  Ruhe admitted that the
Games, with a $10M price tag, would lose money, but said they
were worth the investment (USA TODAY, 7/3).  In Minneapolis,
Rachel Blount writes, "Hollywood types have long believed that it
doesn't matter what people say about you -- as long as they're
saying something.  That adage also applies to ESPN's Extreme
Games, which drew better-than-expected ratings" (Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 7/3).
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