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ESPN GOES GLOBAL IN NBA RADIO DEAL; TURNER 85% SOLD IN '95
Published December 5, 1995
When the NBA passed its broadcast rights to be handled by ESPN Radio on the ABC Radio Network, the league ended a four-year "run of in-house management of the property," according to Laura Rich of INSIDE MEDIA. Tom Carelli, Dir of Broadcasting at the NBA, said the league looked at radio and "decided it was an inefficient business" for them and that ESPN has the "resources to expand the reach." Rich reports CBS Radio and Westwood One were in the bidding, but "there is some debate" over CBS' seriousness. Brad Saul, President of PIA, which created the NBA Radio franchises in Europe, said the "problem" for ABC will be getting clearance on "decent stations that don't have baseball," as many carry baseball games conflicting with basketball from March to June. ABC Radio reportedly has already begun offering the 14 official NBA sponsors "first-refusal rights" until December 1. But ABC's "best play may involve packaging pro hoops spots with other inventory if it hopes to get major advertisers." As Saul notes, "Otherwise your competitor is the NBA" (INSIDE MEDIA, 11/29-12/12 issue). AIR TIME: Mark Mariani, Exec VP/Turner Sports, says the network has sold about 85% of its ad time for its NBA telecasts during this season. Sources say advertisers include American Express, Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler, GM, Ford, Nike, Reebok, Dutch Boy and Visa, among others (Langdon Brockington, INSIDE MEDIA, 11/29-12/12 issue).