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Re-regulation has helped The Golf Channel remarket itself, "creating a new rate card with competitive basic and tier prices that have helped the channel get distribution deals for more than 350,000 homes in the last two months," according to Wayne Walley of ELECTRONIC MEDIA. The channel has an estimated 500,000 subscribers and hopes to hit 700,000 by the end of '95. Despite "slow growth," Golf Channel CEO Joseph Gibbs said ownership has been "supportive and will continue financing the service," while Goldman Sachs has been retained to search for other investors (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 11/27 issue). ProGroup Inc., makers of Palmer clubs, has singed a multi-year ad agreement with a "significant presence" on the TGC starting January 1. Sources say five different 30-second spots will air around 2,000 times during coverage. Arnold Palmer, a ProGroup board member, is a Golf Channel investor (GOLFWEEK, 11/25).
Since executives at new CBS parent Westinghouse have said they want to return to covering the NFL, the "rumor is that the battleground will be on 'Monday Night Football,'" according to Steve Zipay of NEWSDAY. ABC's NFL rights deal ends in '97, but the network ABC "won't easily forfeit its showcase, whose ratings consistently place it in the top 10 of all TV programs and would bid more" than $1B to keep it. Sources say it is more likely that Westinghouse/CBS would "bid for the Sunday night cable rights shared by ESPN and TNT." CBS could offer the league "a hefty increase and a broader reach than the cable networks" (NEWSDAY, 11/28).
ESPN has announced that over 70,000,000 fans have participated in their "Football Phone-atic Sweepstakes" sponsored by Visa -- aimed at increasing awareness for ESPN's Sunday Night NFL Telecasts (ESPN)....DirecTV, which signed their one millionth customer on November 2, is profiled in USA TODAY. It will be another year before DirecTV breaks even, with Primestar "closing in" and new challenges from MCI-News Corp (USA TODAY, 11/28)....The recent "noteworthy spate of new sports features and documentary work" are reviewed by Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Mentioned: CBS' "World Ride: The Possible Dream," HBO's "Fields of Fire," and TBS' "Idols of the Game" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/28)....Ted Turner's exclusive interview with the WALL STREET JOURNAL was noted in many media outlets. In Atlanta, Charles Haddad calls it the "first of several publicity moves" to win Wall Street support for TBS' merger with Time Warner (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/28). The N.Y. POST runs with the header "Doomed? Time Rocked by Turner Interview." Tharp & Durie report Turner "enraged" Time Warner execs "by apparently putting himself in line to run the entire company" (N.Y. POST, 11/28).....Developers on the internet are examined by Dan Turner of the L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL. Santa Monica-based Baby Mogul Interactive signed a deal in late October to create a site for the Raiders, to be supported by the team and "by many of the same advertisers that sponsor football games on television" (L.A. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/20 issue)....Reach for cable networks as of November '95: ESPN -- 67,248,000; ESPN2 -- 26,180,000; TNT -- 65,713,000; TBS 67,029,000; and fX -- 24,029,000 (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 11/27 issue)....A federal judge ruled yesterday that bulletin board operators and major Internet access providers can be held liable for copyright violations committed by one of their users if they are aware the activity is taking place (L.A. TIMES, 11/28).