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This past Tuesday marked the launch of "Hispanos en el Beisbol," the first monthly magazine geared to the Hispanic community. Louis Cepeda and Carlos Bido, the Rockies' play-by- play announcer on Spanish-language radio, are the paper's publishers. "Hispanos en el Beisbol" will focus on Latino players in MLB and be published year-round, according to Hank Caltabiano of the Hispanic Marketing Group, Inc., a Denver ad firm "producing the tabloid." Every article in the newspaper appears in both Spanish and English. Hispanic Marketing Group "produced 20,000 copies of the first issue, which will be distributed free at Coors Field and in stores and restaurants primarily in Hispanic neighborhoods in metro Denver." Early advertisers include the Rockies, Coors Brewing, the Denver Rapid Transit District, and Auto Accessories Mexico (Jeffrey Leib, DENVER POST, 7/5).
"Making a second effort within 10 years to produce a universally acknowledged world champion," HBO Sports is negotiating with Riddick Bowe, Lennox Lewis, George Foreman, Michael Moorer, Evander Holyfield, Herbie Hide, Ray Mercer, and Tommy Morrison "for a big-money tournament to start in October" and end in June 1996. All the fighters HBO seeks to sign are current or former champs of the WBC, WBA, IBF, or WBO, and "none is under contract to promoter Don King." HBO Sports President Seth Abraham "said the seven-fight tournament would generate $75 million-$100 million in television rights fees" and that he "was confident the tournament would take place." Abraham: "We're very far down the road. The fight community responds to two things: money and money, and everything else is tied for last place." More Abraham: "The fans don't really care about the organizations anymore. Their champions don't mean anything. ... No longer is the No. 1 the best fighter. He is now the best politically connected" (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/6). Abraham did note, "A signed contract is only the first round of negotiation" (THE DAILY). EARLY REAX: In this morning's Baltimore SUN, Milton Kent says HBO's move "is a brilliant one, on two counts." Kent: "First, it has arranged a solid block of programming with fighters the public wants to see. More importantly, the network will assure itself a piece of the [Mike] Tyson gravy train at the tournament's end, since the winner will have some form of title" (BALTIMORE SUN, 7/6).
In Vancouver, Alex Strachan writes, "Nearly two million viewers in Canada watched [playoff] hockey on CBC, while 3.5 million viewers in the U.S. watched hockey on Fox. Given the difference in the number of potential viewers in the two countries, that has to be a reality check for executives who believe hockey's salvation lies with the American television audience (Vancouver SUN, 7/6)...."An ESPN mix-up" yesterday caused many Southern CA viewers to miss the first two innings of the Dodger-Braves game featuring Hideo Nomo, "although it is unclear why the unscheduled blackout occured." ESPN had been running Nomo promo's for several days, but "viewers initially got the alternate game, San Francisco at Cincinnati." ESPN spokesperson Chris LaPlaca: "We're just as upset as anyone else" (L.A. TIMES, 7/6).... This week's SI features an article by Austin Murphy who bunkered himself in a room at The Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando and watched the Golf Channel for "48 straight hours." Murphy: "I am not the Golf Channel's target audience, that's my problem. The station's programming is aimed at the kind of person who is apt to liken a golf course to a cathedral. ... It is for the best, I think, that my room contains no minibar" (SI, 7/10).... SportsChannel Florida has reached an agreement with Creative Sports to carry Univ. of Miami men's basketball, as well as 30 to 40 football and basketball games from the Big East, Big 10, Big 12, and Conference USA (SportsChannel Florida)....ATTENTION SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY SUBCRIBERS: Later this year, a new venture called "Juno" will provide free electronic mail service to anyone with access to a personal computer and a modem (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/6).
Next Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game on ABC "has generated robust sales of commercial time despite sagging attendance at ball parks" and the dissolution of The Baseball Network, according to the AP's Skip Wollenberg. Sales by TBN have hit about $18M -- up 24% from the estimated $14.5M generated from ad sales on '94 Game. Wollenberg writes, "Ad buyers say a resurgent advertising marketplace and the lack of competing sports showcases such as the Olympics helped baseball overcome the legacy of unresolved labor problems, at least for one game" (AP/TORONTO STAR, 7/6). WHAT'S NEXT?: Wollenberg also says "advertisers will be watching" the ratings for sign of fan disenchantment already evident in the 23% decline (through July 4) in average attendance at MLB parks. Ratings for MLB's All-Star Game have risen in each of the past two seasons (AP/TORONTO STAR/AP, 7/6). Arnold Chase of Vitt Media International says MLB has benefited from its multiyear contracts with "big advertisers like Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, Toyota, and MCI on the All-Star Game," but is cautious about the rest of the season. Chase: "Baseball has major problems after the All-Star Game. Most local market baseball is going begging" (AP/WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/6). ON THE RADIO: CBS Radio Networks carry three MLB games each week, "but advertising is down, as are the number of stations carrying [baseball], to 275 from 300 a year ago." Bob Kipperman, GM of CBS Radio: "A number of advertisers have put their money in other areas" (AP/Balto SUN, 7/6).