SBD/3/Sports Media


     After months of heavy criticism from baseball and media
writers, The Baseball Network launches its regionalized playoff
coverage on NBC tonight at 8pm EDT.  ABC picks up divisional
playoff coverage on Friday.  The rundown of where each series
will be shown (USA TODAY, 10/3):
     NOTE:  States are listed by postal code.  States with symbol
(^) have some markets dedicated to other games.
     BOS-CLE (23%)  NYY-SEA (20%)  CIN-LA (27%)   COL-ATL (30%)
     New England    NJ, NY         Philadelphia   NC, TN
     Erie, PA       AK, HI, OR, WA Pittsburgh     Richmond
     Baltimore      Lancaster, PA  Johnstown, PA  Roanoke
     Wash., DC      Wilkes-Barre   KY, WV, OH^    AL, GA, MS, SC
     Norfolk, VA    C'ville, VA    IL^, IN^       KS^, FL^, NE,
     Fort Myers     Hagerstown, MD AZ^, CA, NV    Springfield, MO
     MI, WI, MN, ND Evansville     Waterloo, IA   Peoria, IL
     Kansas City    Davenport, IA  St. Louis      Des Moines
     Fort Wayne     Miami          Joplin, MO     Sioux City, IA
     Cleveland      Tampa                         CO, ID, MT, UT
     Columbus                                     WY, AR, NM, OK
     Stubenville                                  LA^, TX, SD
     Toledo                                       Phoenix
     South Bend
     Baton Rouge
     Fort Worth
     THE GOOD:  In Philadelphia, Mike Bruton writes, "On the eve
of this not-so-grand experiment, it looks as if things might not
be so terrible" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/3).  In Washington,
Tom Boswell writes, "Have pity on our fellow Americans.  If they
want MTV and Beverly Hills 90210, why not give them baseball in
quadravision?" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/3).  ESPN President Steve
Bornstein:  "Why don't we see the playoffs before they're
criticized?" (USA TODAY, 10/3).  In Atlanta, Prentis Rogers
writes, "It is worth noting that little of the criticism directed
at TBN has been aimed at the telecasts themselves" (ATLANTA
     THE BAD:  In Tampa, Doug Carlson writes the new TV format
"likely will further tarnish the game's image" (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
10/3).  Astros Dir of Broadcasting Jamie Hildreth:  "The Baseball
Network was a good idea for the regular season but not so good
for the playoffs. ... Any time you get a jewel event like the
playoffs, it should be seen by the entire country" (Carlton
Thompson, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/3).
     AND THE UGLY:  NBC's Bob Costas:  "The whole wild-card idea
in concept and practice is so mindless it's best not to think
about it if you plan to enjoy the games that remain" (Rudy
martzke, USA TODAY, 10/3).
     THE WORD FROM TBN:  In New York, Richard Sandomir notes that
move toward regionalization "ignored such factors as the
expanding nationalization" of the NBA playoffs.  But TBN "must
play the denationalized hand it was dealt."  President Ken
Schanzer:  "We've been given a responsibility to broadcast the
games regionally and, within that context, we tried to come up
with a plan that makes it as exciting as possible" (N.Y. TIMES,
10/3).  Coordinating producer John Filipelli:  "Our goal is to
make these telecasts as seamless as possible" (Steve Nidetz,
     NO DISH VIEWING:  Restating his Monday report, Jim Baker
notes that officials from NBC and TBN insist the satellite feed
will remain scrambled on out-of-market games to protect
regionalization (BOSTON HERALD, 10/3).
     WILL O.J. PRE-EMPT?  The WASHINGTON POST reported this
morning that NBC was considering a prime-time O.J. special, but
NBC's Ed Markey tells THE DAILY that other than a special
"Dateline" at 11:35pm EDT, he knew of no such plans.
     WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR:  New MLB marketing exec Arlan Kantarian
is said to be pursuing sponsorship deals for next season, which
include MLB-based promos and time buys with the league's new
media partners, according to Jeff Jensen of ADVERTISING AGE.
Kantarian is said to be in the "critical stages" with Pizza Hut,
while Anheuser-Busch has requested a meeting.  A-B VP/Corporate
Media & Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo:  "From our standpoint, the
playoffs and World Series will be a test to see just where the
national appeal of baseball stands."  A-B will run spots during
ABC and NBC broadcasts, but nothing baseball-specific.  The same
goes for TBN sponsor Texaco.  But GM (TBN's biggest sponsor) will
air new Cal Ripken/Chevy Trucks ads (AD AGE, 10/2 issue).
     OVERNIGHTS ON AL WEST PLAYOFF:  According to preliminary
Nielsen overnight ratings for the Seattle and L.A. markets, the
Mariners-Angels AL West playoff game on ESPN yesterday afternoon
received a 2.8 in L.A. and a 4.5 in Seattle (Nielsen Sports
Marketing Service).
     ONE LAST SHOT:  David Letterman, on the NL playoff schedule:
"The Dodgers will be at home against the Reds, the Braves will be
at home playing the Rockies, and the Mets will be at home playing
Mortal Kombat" (CBS, 10/2).
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