SBD/8/Sports Media

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         ESPN's telecast of Cal Ripken's record-breaking 2131st
    consecutive game played drew a "whopping" 7.5 cable rating, the
    highest mark for an ESPN baseball game.  ESPN's Mike Soltys:
    "Our initial expectations weren't quite that high. ... [But]
    Ripken's streak had crossed over the sports line and got to be a
    wider story.  That's where the audience kicked in" (Prentis
    Rogers, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/8).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent
    notes that WJZ-Channel 13 got a 30.1 local rating and HTS did a
    14.2/20 in the Baltimore area.  Between 9:30 and 9:45, nearly 80%
    of all Baltimore TV homes were tuned to coverage of the game
    (Baltimore SUN, 9/8).  The previous high ratings for non-NFL ESPN
    telecasts were Georgetown-St. John's basketball in February '85
    (8.0) and  last year's Florida State-Miami football game (7.7).
    The 9:30-9:45 portion of the program (when the game was made
    official) drew an 11.3, and the 11:30-12:30 postgame show drew a
    7.3.  ESPN's 7.5 rating includes over-the-air coverage on
    Baltimore's WJZ and DC's WFTY.  Without those areas, it was 7.0
    rating in the cable-only universe (ESPN).    SILENCE IS GOLDEN:
    In Philadelphia, Mike Bruton writes, "For baseball junkies it was
    nirvana, and ESPN, the network charged with recording this piece
    of history, was up to the task" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/8).  In
    Washington, Leonard Shapiro notes both Chris Berman and Buck
    Martinez "allowed ESPN's pictures to do the talking, the perfect
    approach to one of the greatest moments in sports history"
    (WASHINGTON POST, 9/8).  NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol said
    ESPN did an "incredible, classy and effective job.  It was TV
    sports for the ages" (USA TODAY, 9/8).  In Orlando, Jerry Greene
    writes, "I'm told Berman first suggested turning off his mike and
    played a large role in the final decision.  You're more than just
    a pretty face, Chris" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/8).  In Houston,
    Carlton Thompson writes, "Berman forever will be known for his
    clever wit and nicknames.  But when the moment dictates, he can
    be serious and compassionate.  He proved that Wednesday night by
    saying nothing" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/8).
         ANOTHER LANDMARK:  ESPN celebrated its 16th anniversary by
    announcing that it is the first cable network to hit 70%
    penetration of U.S. homes.  That 70% represents 66,805,000 homes
    (ESPN).  The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Frederick Klein writes, "For
    my money, the most important date in the modern world of
    Sportsbiz was Sept. 7, 1979" -- ESPN's first day of cablecasting

    Print | Tags: Comcast-Spectacor, ESPN, NBC, NFL, Media, Walt Disney

         America Online announced that it has exceeded 3.5 million
    subscribers, making it the largest online service.  CompuServe
    currently claims about 3.4 million subscribers, and Prodigy more
    than 2 million.  Delphi/MCI and The Microsoft Network have less
    than 500,000 each (AD AGE ONLINE, 9/8)....CompuServe is
    sponsoring CompuServe Day at the Ballpark for the Indians'
    September 9 game at Jacobs Field.  The promotion includes a
    CompuServe display, distribution of free software and membership
    kits and prizes for fans (CompuServe)....Despite SportsChannel
    Florida's acquisition of U/Miami football rights, TCI and
    Continental Cablevision "say they have no plans to bring back the
    channel."  Barry Jackson writes that SportsChannel "probably
    needs to acquire one of the local pro teams to get back on every
    cable system in South Florida."  SportsChannel is expected to
    pursue the Marlins and Panthers, whose contracts are up next
    year, but getting the Lightning or Devil Rays would boost
    SportsChannel upstate where the Sunshine Network "dominates"
    (MIAMI HERALD, 9/8)....Still no word on Astros radio rights.
    Incumbent KPRC-AM is "intent on keeping the games," but KILT-AM
    is making a "big push."  KTRH-AM is the "surprise contender"
    (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/8)....The Center for Media Education and
    the United Church of Christ will protest the proposed sale of CBS
    to Westinghouse with the FCC (WASHINGTON POST, 9/8)....Merger
    talks between US West and Cablevision have reportedly broken off
    (NEWSDAY, 9/7). ....MSG Network is expected to announce Monday
    the signing of Kenny Albert, the 27-year-old son of Marv Albert,
    to handle Rangers games and other assignments.  Albert, who has
    been doing Capitals play-by-play on HTS, will be replaced by Al
    Koken.  The Capitals also announced that radio voice Ron Weber
    will continue for two more years and then be replaced when the
    team moves to a new arena (WASHINGTON POST, 9/8). ....In L.A.,
    Larry Stewart reports that, for now, NFL ratings in the area are
    up over last year, when they actually had teams.  Ratings for '95
    Week 1 topped last year, 29.8 to 25.3 (L.A. TIMES, 9/8).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, CBS, Cleveland Indians, Comcast-Spectacor, Miami Marlins, Houston Astros, Madison Square Garden, Microsoft, NFL, Media, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays, Viacom, Washington Capitals

         The following NFL games failed to sellout for this weekend
    and will be blacked out in their home markets.
         NOTE:  The Lions-Vikings game was to have been blacked out
    in the Twin Cities, but TCF Bank and Channel 29 teamed up to buy
    the remaining 7,000 tickets.  In past years, a fund established
    by General Mills had bought up remaining tickets for any game
    within 10% of a sellout, but that fund dried up last year.  Five
    other Vikings home games this year remain non-sellouts
    (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/8).  San Diego's opener also sold
    out just before the deadline.
         GAME                       LOCAL TIME           NETWORK
         Tampa Bay at Cleveland        1:00                Fox
         Pittsburgh at Houston        12:00                NBC
         Jacksonville at Cincinnati    4:00                NBC
         Philadelphia at Arizona       7:00                TNT

    Print | Tags: Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, NBC, NFL, Media, Turner Sports, Wheaties
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