SBD/29/Sports Media

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         New Web sites:  The French Open's online site can be found
    at (English) or http://www. (French) (USA TODAY, 5/28); NCAA info is now
    available at (NCAA)....Fox and TCI are
    reportedly discussing a partnership by which the cable operator
    would carry Fox's new all-news channel, while TCI's Liberty Media
    would get as much as a 20% stake in the new venture (N.Y. TIMES,
    5/29)....Carolyn Wall, former CEO of Cowles Business Media, has
    been named president of WBIS+, New York's new
    business/entertainment/sports TV channel owned by ITT Corp. and
    Dow Jones (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/28).  ....Hockey reporter Bob
    McKenzie will leave the Toronto Star to rejoin The Hockey News as
    a columnist/reporter (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/29)....In a piece
    examining the prospects for a comeback at CBS under new
    Westinghouse leadership, BUSINESS WEEK's Elizabeth Lesly writes
    that CBS Sports "is a basket case."  CBS execs believe winning
    back the NFL is a "priority" (BUSINESS WEEK, 6/3
    issue)....Baltimore's Sinclair Broadcasting has bought the rights
    to the October 13th Ravens-Colts game for Channel 54.  The game
    will be shown nationally on TNT (Baltimore SUN, 5/28)....In New
    York, Richard Sandomir previews MLB coverage on Fox, noting that
    "dawn is breaking" in terms of league execs allowing
    technological advances (miking of managers, bases, etc.) denied
    to previous network partners (N.Y. TIMES, 5/29).

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Cablevision, CBS, Indianapolis Colts, MLB, NCAA, New York Liberty, NFL, Media, Turner Sports, Viacom

         CBC and its major unions reached a "12th hour" agreement in
    ongoing labor negotiations to avoid a strike that would have
    affected NHL playoff coverage and the network's Olympic
    preparations (Montreal GAZETTE, 5/25).
         CUP CRAZE HITS FLORIDA:  The Panthers hit a new ratings high
    on Miami's Fox affiliate, with a 10.6 rating and a 23 share for
    Sunday's Game 4 against the Penguins.  The Panthers averaged just
    a 1.8 for the regular season.  The NHL game topped both the Indy
    500 (6.1) and the NBA's Jazz-Sonics (3.5) in Miami (Barry
    Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 5/29).
         NO DEAL:  TSN, Canada's cable sports network, failed to
    acquire a package of NBA games for the '96-97 season.  The
    reason, according to William Houston of the GLOBE & MAIL:  "TSN
    thought the NBA's rights fees were too steep and objected to
    sharing commercial time with the league."  That leaves the
    possibility that a new channel, S3 (whose license is pending
    before Canada's Radio-TV and Telecom Commission), could get NBA
    rights.  Currently, CTV has the rights to 18 Raptors and
    Grizzlies games (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/25).

    Print | Tags: CBC, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NBA, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, Media, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz

         Boston's WSBK-TV has filed suit against the Red Sox and
    Bruins, its partners in NESN, claiming the teams are "threatening
    to run NESN into the ground by grabbing for more of its revenue
    than the teams are owed," according to David Halbfinger of the
    BOSTON GLOBE.  As owners of NESN, the Red Sox (47%) and Bruins
    (31%) supply content, while WSBK (19%) supplies production
    equipment and services.  An additional 3% is split among the
    three.  The dispute involves the rights fees the teams receive
    from games -- originally $.11-.16 per subscriber/per game.  But
    Michael Gass, attorney for WSBK, notes that deal was negotiated
    when NESN was purely a premium cable service.  However, more
    cable systems recently have begun moving NESN from premium to
    basic cable, cutting the channel's monthly per subscriber share
    from $4-5 to around $.50.  Gass noted that since '85, "to account
    for the disparity," the teams accepted lower rights fees.  But in
    January, according to the suit, the Red Sox and Bruins labeled
    those lower fees an "experiment" and threatened to terminate if
    the fees didn't rise.  Gass, on the demands:  "This would put
    NESN into the red this year, and further and further into the red
    every year after.  And Channel 38 would lose money on the deal.
    It's inconsistent with keeping the venture alive."  The GLOBE's
    Halbfinger notes the "bad blood" between the Red Sox and WSBK-TV,
    the team's broadcast partner for 21 years until a switch this
    year.  Also, the $2.1M the Sox are demanding would help balance
    $5M in local broadcasting losses under their new deal with WABU-
    TV and $4M in national TV losses (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/25).  Red Sox
    attorney Daniel Goldberg accused WSBK's owner, Viacom, of being
    "far off on their facts."  Goldberg:  "Rather than come back with
    a proposal, they came back with a lawsuit" (Jeffrey Krasner,
    Vennochi writes the suit "is about revenge, money" -- and the Red
    Sox's new TV rights deal, negotiated by team Exec VP John
    Buckley.  Vennochi writes that Buckley's deal with WABU for
    roughly $9M per year "may have put the team is such a bad
    bargaining position, management is anxious to make up the
    difference elsewhere --like NESN" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/29).

    Print | Tags: Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, Media, Viacom

         ABC's coverage of the Indianapolis 500 drew a 6.8 overnight
    rating, a 21% drop from last year and the lowest Indy overnight
    ever, according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY.  Yesterday,
    ESPN projected a 3.0 cable rating for its coverage of the rival
    U.S. 500 (USA TODAY, 5/29).
         RATINGS BREAKDOWN:  The following analysis, from Nielsen
    Sports Marketing Service, compares this year's Indy 500
    rating/shares to the '95 race (THE DAILY).  NOTE:  As these
    numbers are preliminary, they may differ slightly from later
    readings cited by networks and other news outlets.
    MARKET          '95       '96      MARKET      '95      '96
    New York       4.5/14    3.4/10    Denver     9.3/31   9.0/25
    L.A.          10.9/33    7.8/24    Pittsb.    8.4/23   7.1/19
    Chicago        9.4/28    7.5/22    St Louis  11.3/35   6.9/21
    Phila.         8.1/23    6.2/18    Sac'mento  9.4/29   7.5/28
    S.F.-Oak-S.J.  6.9/24    6.6/23    Orlando    8.6/25   8.5/23
    Boston         3.9/17    4.0/15    Baltimore  7.8/22   5.0/13
    Washington     7.1/21    6.4/18    Portland   9.5/32   8.7/30
    Dallas-FW      9.9/26    7.8/21    Indian.   17.7/33  15.8/27
    Detroit        9.8/25    6.9/20    Hartford   6.1/24   5.5/19
    Atlanta        9.0/23    5.7/15    San Diego  8.5/27   7.7/24
    Houston        8.2/21    7.2/19    Charlotte 10.3/28   7.8/21
    Seattle        9.9/35    7.1/24    Cincy     12.9/35   9.9/28
    Cleveland     11.9/30    5.6/15    Milwaukee 12.6/39  10.9/35
    Minn-St Paul   8.6/27    5.6/20    K.C.       9.0/27   8.5/24
    Tampa-St Pete  9.6/26    6.7/20    San Ant.   6.7/18   7.2/18
    Miami-Ft Laud  5.7/17    6.1/17    W Palm Bch 9.7/26   6.6/18
    Phoenix       11.7/34   10.1/29    AVERAGE    8.6/25   6.6/18

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, Media, Walt Disney
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