SBD/22/Sports Media

NBC'S EBERSOL SAYS "NO" TO RIGHTS REFUND ON NFL COVERAGE

     NFL moves into smaller markets have "prompted network
concern," according to Jim Baker in today's BOSTON HERALD.  While
the AFC, and thus NBC, have been "hit the hardest," NBC Sports
President Dick Ebersol said he will not seek "financial
compensation from the league."  Ebersol:  "We're not looking for
a rebate. ... This is something we'll have to work out, perhaps
through more careful scheduling of our top games" (BOSTON HERALD,
11/22).
     SPEAK MORE EVIL?  Despite all the franchise shifting and
legal action in the league, the networks covering the NFL have
been quiet on the issues in both pre-game shows and the games
themselves, according to Milton Kent of the Baltimore SUN.  Kent
writes the $4.4B in total rights fees has something to do with
the silence.  Kent:  "Frankly, the power of the league ... has
effectively stifled the legitimate criticism of an NFL front
office that is watching its building go up in flames."  Al
Michaels' commentary during halftime of Monday's ABC telecast was
"all well and good, but why didn't Michaels name names, starting
with that of [Commissioner Paul] Tagliabue" (Baltimore SUN,
11/22).  Michaels "surprised some by speaking out against
franchise moves" during halftime, according to Jim Baker.  ABC
plans more Michaels commentaries (BOSTON HERALD, 11/22).  Michael
Hiestand calls such commentary "rare" (USA TODAY, 11/22).
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