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Canada's YTV premieres "NBA Dunk Street" on April 5. The half-hour program will feature NBA players, history and terminology with a Canadian spin (YTV)....Golfweek magazine will expand its business coverage with a pull-out section called "Strictly Business," beginning in the June 1 issue (Golfweek)....News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch's latest quest is launching digital TV in Europe (BUSINESS WEEK, 3/25).... TCI "strengthened its position" as the top U.S. cable operator yesterday when it bought Knight-Ridder's 50% stake in TKR Cable for $420M. TKR has almost 500,000 subscribers in NY and NJ ("Moneyline," CNN, 3/18)....SportsTicker is expanding its sports news coverage to include all of Business Wire's SportsWire news releases (SportsTicker).... SportsChannel Regional Network launches a Web site this week. The string of networks plans to include scheduling, programming highlights, interviews with team players, news, stats, information, trivia and contests on the site. The address: http://www.sportschannel.com (SportsChannel). ....GOLFWEEK's Dave Shedloski reports CBS' transition from longtime golf producer Frank Chirkinian to Lance Barrow "will not stray from the Chirkinian philosophy." Barrow, who admits he will add his own identity: "If someone tells me our show looks like a Frank Chirkinian show, it would be an honor" (GOLFWEEK, 3/16 issue)....The IAAF will produce three shows in connection with the World Cross Country Championships from Cape Town, South Africa (USAT&F)....NBC's NBA games Sunday averaged a 3.6 overnight -- down 73% from last year -- Michael Jordan's return which earned a 13.4 rating (USA TODAY, 3/19)....Richard Sandomir criticizes SET's Tyson-Bruno announcing team for not noticing the gash over Bruno's eye -- which occurred during Round 1 -- until 10 seconds before Round 2. On Tommy Morrison as an analyst, Sandomir asks, "Was no knowledgeable analyst available, rather than someone hired mainly because of his renown for contracting the H.I.V. virus?" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).
NBC has announced a new on-line site to supplement and publicize its on-air coverage of the '96 Games. "NBC Presents the Games of the XXVI Olympiad" is accessible on the network's Web site at http://www.olympic.nbc.com and through NBC SuperNet Sports on the Microsoft Network (go word: NBC). Feature areas include: Athlete Profile of the Week; Golden Moments; Day-in- the-Life of an Olympic Hopeful; Sport-by-Sport previews; and a nightly "Golden Chat" with notable personalities (NBC). NBC's Ed Markey said the network has yet to sell advertising on the site and, "for now," will use the site it to promote Games coverage. The site will be managed by a staff on-site in Atlanta during the Games (Jeffrey Scott, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/19).
STATS Inc. responded to the March 5 lawsuit filed against it and Motorola by the NBA over the alleged transmission of NBA highlights through the SportsTrax pager. STATS President & CEO John Dewan, from a release: "STATS is a news-gathering company just like a wire service, radio station, television network or newspaper. The difference between STATS and these other entities is that we report sports news in numbers rather than in words or pictures." Dewan continues, "STATS strongly believes that it has the legal right to disseminate factual statistical information, since such content is news. The statistics of sports have always been and must remain freely available to the public." Dewan notes that "a ruling in favor of the NBA would mean unprecedented restrictions on how statistics and other game information could be made available to the public in the future. The NBA could then claim ownership not just of news updates, but also of box scores, books about basketball that contain statistical analysis and even fantasy league information. This lawsuit challenges the very nature of media reporting in sports" (STATS Inc.).