SBD/20/Sports Media

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  • CABLE OPERATORS WATCHING CLOSELY THE PLAN FOR FX

         The future of Fox's fX cable channel in the wake of the Fox-
    Liberty sports alliance is examined by VARIETY's Joe Flint.  The
    partnership plans to use fX as a "major part" of its sports
    plans, turning it into a "nationally distributed, general
    entertainment and sports network."  Flint notes that fX "already
    has the entertainment; how it will incorporate the sports -- and
    how much it will have to incorporate -- is the key question."  fX
    will start carrying MLB telecasts in '97 and could start carrying
    other sports, including the NHL and some regional programming as
    part of the Liberty venture.  Flint reports cable operators are
    watching "closely," as those that don't carry fX "would be more
    interested if it had a heavy load of sports, while those that do
    carry the network are nervous about an overhaul."  One cable
    operator warned:  "If the model is USA Network or TNT, then it
    would probably be consistent with what they sold us.  However, if
    it is anything close to a regional sports channel or a network
    with a strong load of secondary sports, then it is totally out of
    bounds.  If TCI and Fox think that is what they will create, then
    they'll have a revolution on their hands" (VARIETY, 12/17 issue).
         GIVE HIM LIBERTY:  Liberty Media President Peter Barton
    discusses their partnership with Fox in the current issue of
    INSIDE MEDIA.  On securing MLB TV rights, Barton said what made
    the Fox-Liberty partnership attractive to baseball were their
    national-local "interrelationships."  Barton:  "We have the
    rights here to cross-promote between the regionals, which show on
    the order of 1,200 baseball games a year -- more than anybody
    else ... Nobody else really has that kind of cross-promotional
    and branding capability" (Brockinton & Reynolds, INSIDE MEDIA,
    12/13 issue).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, MLB, New York Liberty, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Media, TBS/TNT, USA Networks
  • MEDIA NOTES

         The contract of Jim Nelford, The Golf Channel's lead analyst
    for live men's tournament coverage, was not renewed for '96.  TGC
    VP/Production Mike Whelan said the two sides could not come to
    terms on a new deal.  Also, Don McGuire, a former Senior VP at
    Turner Broadcasting, has been retained as consultant for TGC
    (GOLF WEEK, 12/16 issue)....At "Spotlight on Interactive
    Advertising '95" in New York, Scott Kurnitt, President & CEO of
    the new MCI/News Corp. online venture, predicted '96 could pose a
    challenge to the interactive community.  Kurnitt said although
    "there will be some new companies" emerging, there's "no question
    the business will have a shakeout" after a year of "enthusiasm
    and discovery."  Kurnitt:  "Some will be better than others,
    rising to the top and capturing people's imagination.  Some will
    be dormant.  And some will go out of business" (Stuart Elliot,
    N.Y. TIMES, 12/20)....ESPN will not bring back Roy Smalley Jr. as
    an analyst on "Baseball Tonight" telecasts (USA TODAY,
    12/20)....Harbin Enterprises will present a new call-in radio
    show, "Roto Talk," hosted by DC sports talk show host Bruce
    Murray.  The show will provide commentary and discussion on all
    fantasy sports and can be initially heard in the Washington on
    all-sports WTEM-AM.  An announcement regarding other affiliates
    will be released after January 1 (Harbin Enterprises).....Despite
    earlier reports that Red Sox TV rights would move to WABU-TV, the
    VHF channel was notified by Sox TV rightsholder Kevin Dunn "that
    it had lost out."  WLVI-TV now becomes the "heir apparent" (Jack
    Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 12/19).
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, ESPN, News Corp./Fox, Media, Walt Disney
  • NFL ON THE AIR: LIONS DENY RADIO DEAL; COWBOYS' HANSEN OUT?

         The Lions have denied reports they will move radio rights
    from WWJ-AM to WXYT-AM despite a report by Bill Rose of the
    DETROIT FREE PRESS that the team has struck a three-year, $10.2M
    deal with Infinity Broadcasting, parent company of WXYT.  The
    games would reportedly be simulcast on WKYT's sister station,
    WOMC-FM.  But Lions VP/Administration Bill Keenist said reports
    of any deal are "premature."  Infinity owns radio rights to the
    Falcons, Cowboys, Patriots, Eagles, Bucs, Redskins and Jets, and
    is "on the fast track to become the radio voice of the NFL."  The
    Lions' current $1.55M per year radio deal expires at the end of
    this season.  It is believed the team is looking to "at least
    double" that amount in the new deal (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/19).
         COWBOY NATION:  Cowboys radio analyst Dale Hansen told the
    FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM he believes he will be fired at the end
    of the year.  Hansen has had "a rocky relationship" with Owner
    Jerry Jones and Coach Barry Switzer since the start of last
    season, and sources say Hansen has "angered" Jones with his
    outspokenness.  He recently "ripped" Switzer's 4th-down decision
    against the Eagles and said Sunday the Giants "were robbed" when
    a late touchdown was called back.  Hansen is working under a one-
    year deal after 12 years as an analyst.  Jones said yesterday any
    impending change is "news to me" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM,
    12/20).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Media, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins
  • TYSON FIGHT MOST WATCHED PRIME-TIME SHOW IN FOX'S HISTORY

         Fox's Saturday evening telecast of Tyson-Mathis gained a
    16.1 national rating and a 28 share, making it Fox's highest
    rated night of programming ever.  Fox estimates more than 43
    million viewers tuned in, making it the most watched prime-time
    program in Fox history (Fox Sports).  Fox averaged a 9.1 rating
    for the week ended December 17, a 1.7-point gain from a year ago
    (AD AGE ONLINE, 12/20).
    

    Print | Tags: News Corp./Fox, Media
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