SBD/25/Sports Media

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         The Mets and WFAN-AM have agreed to a two-year extension of
    their partnership.  The deal that expires this year paid the Mets
    $28M over five years or $5.6M per year.  But since baseball and
    the Mets are not "as hot as they once were," Phil Mushnick
    reports that the new contract is for "considerably less money per
    season" (N.Y. POST, 8/25).  In Chicago, the Bears decided to
    renew with WGN-AM for three more years with the price as high as
    $6M per year, making the Bears "easily the top NFL team in radio
    revenue."  Infinity Broadcasting and Evergreen Media were
    reportedly also in the bidding.  The Bears' current three-year
    WGN deal is for $4.5M per year (Steve Nidetz, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bears, New York Mets, NFL, Media

         Turner Broadcasting had no comment on an ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION report yesterday that Microsoft was close to
    investing $1B in the company (DAILY VARIETY, 8/25).  But
    Microsoft Chair Bill Gates said there is a "good chance" there
    won't be any agreement (N.Y. POST, 8/25).  REUTERS is reporting
    that French media company Havas SA may join TBS in a bid for CBS
    (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/25)....Former Fox and QVC exec Barry Diller
    is said to be preparing a bid for Silver King Communications --
    owner of 12 UHF stations, many of which run home shopping
    programming -- with plans to use them as a "backbone" of a new
    network (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25). ...The New York Times Co. Magazine
    Group will launch "@PLAY" on The Microsoft Network with coverage
    from their magazines, including GOLF DIGEST, TENNIS, GOLF SHOP
    TENNIS BUYER'S GUIDE.  "@PLAY" kicks off during the U.S. Open
    (NYT Magazine Group)....Sports Illustrated is going back to press
    on its August 21 edition which featured a black-and-white cover
    shot of Mickey Mantle (SI)....Churchill Downs Inc., ODS
    Technologies and TKR Cable in Louisville debuted an interactive
    wagering system that allows consumers to watch races at home and
    wager through their cable box (Churchill Downs)....Howie Rose,
    the announcer for the Rangers on WFAN and MSG Network, will move
    to call Islander games on SportsChannel next year.  Kenny Albert,
    who calls the Caps on HTS and is the son of Rangers announcer
    Marv Albert, has been mentioned as a replacement on MSG (NEWSDAY,
    8/25).... With the Packers ending their relationship with County
    Stadium, Milwaukee is no longer considered a "home market" for
    the team, meaning that Packer appearances on ESPN and TNT will be
    offered on free TV only in Green Bay (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL,
    8/25)....ABC's Keith Jackson said the network will be more
    restrained in showing end-zone antics by college players this
    year (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/25).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Cablevision, CBS, Churchill Downs Inc., Comcast-Spectacor, ESPN, Green Bay Packers, Madison Square Garden, Microsoft, Sports Illustrated, Media, Turner Sports, Viacom, Walt Disney

         NBC said that it will refuse to waive its exclusive
    negotiating period of 45 days with MLB, which starts today.
    While a statement from the network said there would be "no
    further comment," the announcement was seen "purely as a legal
    move and was not expected to signal any renewed interest in
    bidding for baseball by NBC."  ABC similarly refused to waive its
    rights, but is said to be interested in re-bidding (WASHINGTON
    POST, 8/25).  NBC's strategy most likely is to keep Fox and CBS
    away until negotiations open on October 9 (Rudy Martzke, USA
    TODAY, 8/25).
         THE GRAND PLAN:  Hal Bodley reports that MLB's TV committee
    met with chief negotiator Barry Frank in New York on Wednesday
    and decided that their next contract will include two over-the-
    air networks and two cable outlets, similar to the NFL (USA
    TODAY, 8/25).

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, MLB, NBC, NFL, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney

         Seth Abraham, President of Time Warner Sports, met with
    reporters to give his version of the November 4 pay-per-view
    dispute as well as a history lesson on Don King.  Time Warner's
    TVKO has Bowe-Holyfield set for Caesar's, while King and Showtime
    Entertainment Television are likely to stage Mike Tyson against
    Buster Mathis at MGM Grand -- both on November 4.  Abraham said
    that in negotiating over rights to Tyson in the '80s, King wanted
    HBO to give in on Tyson's request that analyst Larry Merchant not
    work any Tyson fights.  He compares that to the present, and said
    King is misjudging him and Time Warner.  Abraham:  "We're in the
    boxing business.  Showtime is in the Don King business."  Bob
    Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS:  "This issue of Nov. 4 gets more
    bizarre by the day -- even by boxing's twisted standards" (N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS, 8/25).  Richard Sandomir calls it "filthy fun" and
    reports that Showtime and partner MGM Grand "cannot persuade"
    King to change dates and that it is Tyson co-manager John Horne,
    not King, who "refuses to see how much more money can be made" by
    moving Tyson-Mathis to December.  King, on Abraham:  "He's trying
    to restrain trade and make people submit to him because he's the
    biggest and baddest on the block" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25).

    Print | Tags: HBO, Showtime, Media
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