SBD/17/Sports Media

DISNEY LOVES ITS ICE SPORTS: ABC TO AIR SKATING THROUGH 2007

          The U.S. Figure Skating Association (USFSA) has
     extended its contract with ABC Sports through the 2006-7
     season.  ABC Sports will continue to televise five USFSA
     events including the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for
     the next ten years (USFSA).  ABC's current deal with the
     USFSA ran through '99, but the network "anticipated a heated
     bidding war," according to Stephen Battaglio of the
     HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  ABC Sports VP/Programming Lydia
     Stephans says the network paid a "substantial" increase in
     rights fees for the property.  The deal gives ABC worldwide
     TV rights and allows USFSA events to be aired on ESPN and
     ESPN2.  Stephans adds ABC will be able to sell marketing and
     sponsorship opportunities to advertisers "wherever the
     broadcasts air."  Battaglio notes the USFSA will "also get
     the marketing clout" of Disney to "cross-promote and
     distribute the association's events.  One possibility is
     Disney staging USFSA events at its theme parks if they
     provide skating facilities (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 4/17).  

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ABC, ESPN, Media, Walt Disney

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