SBD/10/Sports Media

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  • "DATELINE" REVISITS BEN WRIGHT-LPGA CONTROVERSY TONIGHT

         Tonight, NBC's "Dateline" examines the comments made by CBS
    golf analyst Ben Wright about lesbianism on the LPGA Tour --
    which eventually led to Wright's suspension from the network --
    with a focus on the ensuing "eight-month battle" between CBS and
    Wilmington (DE) News Journal reporter Valerie Helmbreck.  The
    piece also examines Wright's status and his battle with
    alcoholism (NBC).  Noting that the piece accuses CBS of trying to
    "discredit" and "smear" Helmbreck, CBS execs responded with
    charges of unfairness.  CBS Sports Dir of Communications
    LeslieAnne Wade:  "We applaud NBC for taking valuable news time
    to attack a direct competitor."  CBS Senior VP of Communications
    Gil Schwartz chalked it up to sweeps week and said the story has
    "no new news value."  But NBC News VP David Corvo noted it is the
    first time Helmbreck has spoken on TV and that it is the one-year
    anniversary.  He called it a "big story."  CBS Sports President
    David Kenin:  "This story has been done" (Rudy Martzke, USA
    TODAY, 5/10).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent calls NBC "the worst of
    vultures" for attacking CBS and refers to the piece as "lurid and
    sensational" (Baltimore SUN, 5/10).
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, LPGA, NBC, Media, Viacom
  • ANOTHER MEDIA-BAITING INCIDENT BY ONE OF MLB'S STARS

         Giants OF Barry Bonds engaged a shoving match with USA Today
    baseball writer Rod Beaton in the team's clubhouse before last
    night's game in St. Louis.  According to Mark Gonzales of the SAN
    JOSE MERCURY NEWS, Beaton was waiting to interview Giants 2B
    Robby Thompson, who was talking at the time with four Red Wings
    players visiting the Giants.  Bonds apparently took issue with
    what he perceived to be Beaton's loitering, and told him, "Don't
    be hanging out in my house."  A later exchange resulted in Bonds
    shoving Beaton.  Bonds later said it was "miscommunication."  But
    Beaton, noting that Bonds did not apologize when they spoke after
    the game, said, "Something has to be done.  Writers can't be fair
    game" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/10).  USA TODAY noted the
    incident in the Giants section of the paper's "NL Notes" column.
    Beaton does not intend to file a complaint, and the paper
    "considers the matter closed" (USA TODAY, 5/10).  Columnist Mark
    Purdy writes the post-strike "thaw" between MLB players and the
    media is over and that many "big-name" players "apparently feel
    they can say and do (or not say and not do) anything without
    repercussions."  He adds, "Guess what.  That was true in the
    past, back when baseball was the undisputed king of spring and
    summer.  But my gut feeling lately is, that's no longer a fact."
    Purdy also refers to the shoving of a reporter from a national
    daily newspaper as a "good marketing strategy" (SAN JOSE MERCURY
    NEWS, 5/10).
    

    Print | Tags: Detroit Red Wings, MLB, Media
  • MEDIA NOTES

         The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is scheduled to announce
    today that ABC renewed its contract to broadcast the Indy 500
    through '99.  The deal also covers the IRL and the Brickyard 400
    (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 5/10)....Stanley Cup Playoff coverage on
    Fox is averaging a 2.4 rating and a 6 share, up 20% over last
    season's 2.0/6.  Detroit leads all markets with a 18.6 rating,
    followed by Pittsburgh (17.2) and St. Louis (12.3) (Fox
    Sports)....Whalers forward Brendan Shanahan has signed on with
    ABC's "Good Morning America" to be the "Special Hockey
    Correspondent" when the show heads to Canada for a week of
    programming May 12-17 (NHL)....The Stars announced that former
    NHL goalie Darryl Reaugh has been named new TV and radio color
    analyst for the '96-97 season (Stars).... GOLF DIGEST's Peter
    McCleery examines NBC's work with the USGA, writing that the
    network and the organization "are still on an extended honeymoon"
    (GOLF DIGEST, 6/96 issue). ...."Up-to-the-moment" results from
    the USGA's championships this summer will be available on the
    Internet at http://www. usga.org (USGA)....In San Jose, Colin
    Seymour write Ronnie Lott is the "leading candidate" to take over
    Jimmy Johnson's seat as studio analyst on Fox's NFL coverage (SAN
    JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/10).... ESPN's Mike Soltys acknowledged they
    have been in contact with The Golf Channel about a possible
    purchase (USA TODAY, 5/10).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Dallas Stars, ESPN, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar, NBC, News Corp./Fox, NFL, NHL, Southwest Sports Group, Media, USGA, Walt Disney
  • TCI, LIBERTY AND NEWS CORP. HAMMER OUT SPORTS NET DETAILS

         Liberty Media, TCI and News Corp. completed their previously
    announced deal to form a worldwide alliance to own and operate
    sports programming on a global basis.  In addition to the U.S.
    operation -- in which Liberty contributes is regional and
    national sports networks and News Corp. contributes the fX cable
    network and cash -- the international component of the deal will
    result in jointly owned operations in Latin America, Australia,
    Europe and Asia.  In Asia, News Corp. has agreed to sell a 7.5%
    stake in STAR TV to Liberty/TCI.  The venture will be headed by
    Fox Sports President David Hill, who was named CEO.  Liberty CEO
    Peter Barton called it an "unrivaled international enterprise
    that will pioneer new forms of cross-promotion, program branding
    and other synergies" (Fox/TCI/Liberty).
         OTHER NOTES:  USA TODAY's David Lieberman, noting profits
    are down for News Corp.'s broadcasting arm, writes, "It means
    [News Corp. Chair Rupert] Murdoch still has nothing to show for
    his lavish and controversial efforts to convert Fox from a
    clearly defined, albeit an also-ran network for teens and young
    adults into a mainstream rival to ABC, CBS and NBC" (USA TODAY,
    5/10)....Ad agency Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor has been
    awarded the corporate and digital TV business accounts for TCI
    Communications (JMCT).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Cablevision, CBS, NBC, New York Liberty, News Corp./Fox, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • TEAM MEDIA NOTES: BEARS' FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN WITH WGN

         The Bears' radio contract, a three-year deal signed last
    year, will go to bid after the '96 season since WGN-AM decided to
    exercise an out clause to reopen talks for the final two years of
    the deal.  The Bears say they want to have their long-term radio
    future decided by October '96.  WGN Programming Dir Tisa LaSorte
    said it is possible they may end up signing a long-term deal with
    the team, but that they wanted to "keep their options open."
    Bears Dir of Marketing & Broadcasting Ken Valdiserri is hopeful
    the relationship will continue "beyond 1996."  In Chicago,
    Michael Hirsley notes, "Low ratings and high rights fees are the
    usual suspects" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/10).
         NEWS & NOTES:  WOR-Radio will be the new radio home of the
    Nets, according to Phil Mushnick of the N.Y. POST.  The deal will
    be a time buy (N.Y. POST, 5/10)....Indians ratings in April on
    SportsChannel Ohio were up 47% over the first month of play last
    season.  SportsChannel Ohio Senior VP & GM David Kline reports
    the Indians consistently top three of the four broadcast nets on
    game nights (SC Ohio).
    

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bears, Cleveland Indians, Brooklyn Nets, Media, YankeeNets
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