SBD/4/Sports Media

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  • BASEBALL NETWORK KICKS OFF REGIONAL PLAYOFF COVERAGE

         The Baseball Network premiered their regional coverage of
    the divisional playoffs last night.  Scores were kept updated,
    however replays were shown only of the big plays in each game.
    During a critical point of the Indians/Red Sox telecast, TBN
    split screens to record the final out in Yankee Stadium.
    Afterward Bob Costas apologized to viewers for the untimely cut.
    Costas was more subdued in his criticism of baseball's new
    playoff format, but did say at one time, "it doesn't make any
    sense" (THE DAILY).  In Boston, Jack Craig writes TBN's "claim
    that it would break new ground on delivering out-of-town action
    proved overblown ... but that was neither surprising or
    disappointing."  He does note that "TBN's capacity to swing from
    game to game is a nice advantage" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/4).  In San
    Francisco, NBC affiliate KRON decided to go with local news
    coverage of the O.J. Simpson verdict rather than show the
    Dodgers-Reds in its entirety.  KRON GM Al Holzer believes
    "virtually every station up and down the West Coast went with
    O.J., not baseball" (C.W. Nevius, S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/4).
         SCRAMBLED OR NOT?  Patrons in two Boston bars contacted by
    the BOSTON HERALD noted they shoed the entire Braves game, even
    though TBN officials said the signal would be scrambled. But NBC
    Spokesperson Ed Markey said the Atlanta affiliate sold its signal
    to a distributor that can unscramble it for dish owners via a
    DirectTV package."  NBC News reportedly considered replacing last
    night's telecast with a special on O.J. Simpson, but were
    "advised only a Presidential assassination could knock off a
    contract event" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 10/4).  The S.F.
    CHRONICLE also reports confusion as to the descrambling policy.
    While several Bay Area bars were unable to pull down satellite
    signals for games other than Dodgers-Reds, some bars had clear
    signals (Bruce Jenkins, S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/4).
         BASEBALL NIGHT IN CANADA:  In Toronto, GLOBE & MAIL sports
    editor David Langford calls the regionalized format "a mess."
    Langford notes viewer anger over CBC's decision on which
    provinces will see what game.  But the "major problem" on the
    horizon for CBC is that the network will not carry a MLB playoff
    Game 4 on Saturday night, showing Hockey Night in Canada instead
    (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/4). In Toronto, technical problems
    interrupted the Yankees/Mariners game on CBC-TV.  Some Canadian
    cable companies dropped the simulcast with NBC and put U.S.
    signals back in their normal position. CBC TV Sports Senior Exec
    Producer Don Peppin: "This is a Baseball Network production and
    we have to go through them.  And everything they have done has
    been last minute" (Ken McKee, TORONTO STAR, 10/4).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, NBC, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, Seattle Mariners, Media, Time Warner, YankeeNets
  • MALONE'S HARD BARGAINING ANGERS COMPETITORS

         TCI Chair John Malone lived up to his reputation of "rarely
    leaving anything on the negotiating table" in his recent dealings
    in the Time Warner/TBS merger.  Investors, Wall Street analysts,
    and cable competitors are "puzzling over Malone's package of
    concessions -- and in some cases are questioning its fairness."
    Analysts say his purchase of two regional sports networks to fold
    into Liberty Sports would "add to Malone's efforts in building a
    rival to ESPN."  What "irks" many cable operators is the discount
    rates that Malone's cable systems would have for 20 years to run
    Turner's Cable News Network, TNT and its cartoon and movie
    channels.  One cable exec:  "Watch out.  This lowers TCI's
    costs."  These lower costs could give TCI an advantage "in a
    bidding wars for additional systems as the cable industry
    consolidates" (Sallie Hofmeister, L.A. TIMES, 10/4).
         TURNER RALLIES HIS TROOPS:  Over 3,000 Turner Broadcasting
    Network employees went to the Omni yesterday, with other offices
    watching via closed circuit TV, to hear TBS Chair Ted Turner
    explain why "he wants to sell his company to Time-Warner."
    Turner's 35-minute presentation was his first address to
    employees since the merger was approved on September 22.
    Observers said Turner didn't reveal any new details, and
    "discounted any significant layoffs would be caused by the
    merger" (Haddad & Unger, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/4).
         VIACOM INTEREST?  Wall Street rumors suggest that Viacom
    "was considering a counterproposal to Westinghouse's bid for
    CBS," according BROADCASTING & CABLE.  A source at Viacom would
    not rule out a bid, but said a decision was "not imminent"
    (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 10/2 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, CBS, ESPN, New York Liberty, Media, TBS/TNT, Time Warner, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • MEDIA NOTE

         Dan Duva, Evander Holyfield's promoter, on the decision to
    keep Bowe-Holyfield on pay-per-view the same night as Mike
    Tyson's free event on Fox on November 4:  "When you go to a
    restaurant and they give you free appetizers, you're still going
    to buy dinner" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/4).
    

    Print | Tags: News Corp./Fox, Media
  • SI DELAYS PRO HOOPS PREVIEW DUE TO LABOR UNCERTAINTY

         Sports Illustrated's first Professional Basketball Preview
    was to hit the newsstands this week, but will be delayed until
    October 23.  An SI spokesperson said the decision was made based
    due to the uncertain labor situation in the NBA and the threat of
    a possible work stoppage.  With transactions during the off-
    season compressed into a two-to-three week window, SI wanted to
    guarantee their issue was up-to-date (THE DAILY).  Matt Barr,
    Publications Dir of Sports Illustrated Presents, said "ad sales
    had nothing to do with it. It's a newsstand driven product and it
    has to have a sense of currency to appeal to readers."  The cost
    for a full color ad is $14,000 (AD AGE ONLINE, 10/4).
    

    Print | Tags: NBA, Sports Illustrated, Media, Time Warner
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