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  • COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU: FINE TALES FROM THE SPACEMAN

              The number of feature films on baseball is examined by
         VARIETY's Michael Fleming in his "Buzz" column.  Woody
         Harrelson will play former Red Sox P Bill Lee in "Almost
         Perfect Game," which Paramount "is now fast-tracking ... for
         a spring start, hopefully at Fenway Park."  Among other
         "promising hardball pics" is a Warner Bros. biopic of ex-
         White Sox Owner Bill Veeck that Bill Murray "hopes to star
         in."  Kevin Costner "wants to topline" a Mirage film called
         "For the Love of the Game," and Dwight Gooden's life story
         is being developed by Warner Bros (VARIETY, 10/13 issue).
              CUP O' JOE: VARIETY's Fleming also writes on Showtime's
         "Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way," which premieres
         tonight at 9:00pm ET.  Producer Norman Twain said Yankees
         Owner George Steinbrenner "shut us down and would not let us
         shoot in Yankee Stadium at all because he thought it would
         be a distraction.  Now, he didn't owe Showtime or us
         anything, but the organization certainly did not make it
         easy.  They had to look over the script and then cut every
         piece of profanity out of the picture.  Do you believe that
         in 1996, Paul O'Neill never says anything worse than the
         word 'hell' in the locker room?" (VARIETY, 10/13 issue).  In
         N.Y., TV critic Eric Mink calls the Showtime/Torre movie a
         "huge disappointment. ... sometimes cartoonish" (N.Y. DAILY
         NEWS, 10/16).  The TIMES' TV critic, Will Joyner, calls the
         movie "appealing," while being "slightly superficial" (Will
         Joyner, N.Y. TIMES, 10/17).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Showtime, Media, Time Warner, YankeeNets
  • IS CBC/NHL DEAL NEAR? DO FALLING LEAFS HURT LEAGUE RATINGS?

              The CBC's TV deal with the NHL is "virtually done and
         will be announced shortly," according to William Houston of
         the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  Sources put the deal at C$200-
         250M over five years and sources add the CBC will pay
         between C$40M-50M a year for its national package, "Hockey
         Night in Canada" (HNIC).  Houston writes the CBC was the
         "only over-the-air network" to bid for national NHL rights,
         but that the NHL and CBC "have not reached a cable
         agreement, tentative or otherwise" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/17). 
              ANALYSIS: Also in Toronto, David Shoalts writes that an
         NHL exec said the Maple Leafs' "continuing mediocrity" led
         the league to sign Labatt Brewing's deal with the CBC for
         HNIC, which was done in "a different manner than originally
         planned."  The Leafs recent performance has led to a drop in
         ratings and "there is a fear" at the league office that
         "further slides could lead to a massive hit" in TV revenue. 
         The league earlier had said it "wanted to split" the
         Canadian TV rights package into "smaller components and sell
         the promotional, broadcasting and advertising rates
         separately."  But Shoalts writes that the sale of HNIC
         sponsorship to Labatt and the CBC "makes it appear the
         package has only been split in two parts."  But when adding
         up the components of the national deal, Shoalts notes the
         total value of the national package could hit C$375M, which
         is C$44M more than was offered to the league by Molson for
         rights this summer (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/17). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Labatt Brewing, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NHL, Media, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • MEDIA NOTES

              ESPN: ESPN has "dropped" Gary Miller from its World
         Series coverage in light of charges against him stemming
         from events at a Cleveland nightclub (NEWSDAY, 10/17).  In
         N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes that, "Regardless of the outcome
         of the case, Miller's not expected to lose his job, and, at
         worst, will face a suspension by ESPN" (N.Y. POST, 10/17).
         ...ESPN's "Outside The Lines -- Breaking the Line: Jackie
         Robinson's Legacy" has received Northeastern Univ.'s '97
         Excellence in Sports Journalism Award/Broadcast Media.  Also
         honored was the follow-up discussion, "ESPN Town Meeting:
         Sports in Black & White" (ESPN)....ESPN will broadcast the
         MLBPA Players Choice Awards on November 5 (MLBPA).
              TEAM NOTES: CO-based Web developer CCG Online was named
         by the Rockies to design its Web site, which will launch
         later this year at www.coloradorockies.com (AD AGE, 10/17).
         ...Red Sox telecasts on WABU-TV averaged a 5.7 rating this
         season, up 8% from '96.  The team's telecasts on NESN
         averaged a 2.4, up 20% from last season (BOSTON GLOBE,
         10/17)....The Magic "are making a serious move" into the
         Hispanic community this season with their first weekly
         Spanish radio show on WRMQ-AM (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/17).
              GENERAL: "Fox Sports News" takes an in-depth look at
         the role of religion in pro sports in a two-part "Spotlight"
         report, tonight and Monday (Fox)....The Corel WTA Tour is
         letting fans select its "Most Exciting Player" award for
         '97.  Voting can be done at corelwtatour.com, and on links
         to the Tennis Magazine site and on USA Today Online. 
         Balloting will run through early November, and the winner
         will be announced November 17 at the Chase Championships
         (THE DAILY)....SI Presents' "Pro Basketball '97" preview
         magazine is on newsstands.  The 160-page issue has a cover
         price of $5.95 and has 19 regional covers (SI).
              
    

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, ESPN, News Corp./Fox, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports, Sports Illustrated, Media, Walt Disney
  • MLS' LOGAN CALLS NEW TV DEAL "HUGE STEP FORWARD" FOR LEAGUE

              ESPN and MLS have reached a six-year TV deal through
         the 2003 season.  As part of the deal, ABC Sports will air a
         minimum of 12 telecasts a season, including the league
         opener, the All-Star Game and the MLS Cup.  ESPN will begin
         with 10 telecasts per year, with an eventual increase to 15.
         ESPN2 will show 25 matches in '98, with an eventual increase
         to 35 per year.  ESPN and MLS will continue to produce the
         league's pay subscription package (ESPN).
              DETAILS: The deal will pay the league $5M in '98 and
         the fee "could increase in subsequent years based on
         advertising revenue," according to Stephen Battaglio of the
         HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  MLS Commissioner Logan called the deal
         "a huge step forward" for the league  (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER,
         10/17).  Joshua Prager of the WALL STREET JOURNAL writes
         that the deal "is the most extensive broadcasting package
         ever for professional soccer in the U.S."  The networks
         "won't pay broadcast-rights fees" to MLS, instead sharing
         costs and revenue generated from ad sales (WALL STREET
         JOURNAL, 10/17).  The league's first two seasons on ABC and
         ESPN have consisted of a time-buy (N.Y. TIMES, 10/17). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, MLS, Media, Walt Disney
  • OBSERVERS DIFFER WHETHER MARLINS-TRIBE CAN REEL VIEWERS IN

              NBC will begin its coverage of the '97 World Series on
         Saturday at 7:30pm with Game One to begin at 8:05.  NBC's
         Bob Costas will handle play-by-play, with Joe Morgan and Bob
         Uecker providing analysis.  In N.Y., Steve Zipay writes that
         viewers can "expect a steady, more traditional telecast: no
         above-home plate camera angles or catcher-cams, no mikes on
         managers and coaches, and definitely no full-time, on-screen
         box with the score, inning and count" (NEWSDAY, 10/17).  In
         Philadelphia, Bill Fleischman writes that NBC "plans to
         limit its use of bells and whistles" for its World Series
         coverage, and will not use the score box.  NBC Producer
         David Neal: "We've been very consistent at NBC Sports that
         the score box is not for us, regardless of the sport. ... In
         my view, having the box in there constantly clutters the
         screen" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 10/17). NBC will use 23 cameras,
         five more than its NLCS coverage (MIAMI HERALD, 10/17). 
              ANY GUESSES? NEWSDAY's Zipay adds that "insiders" say
         that NBC's ratings for the Indians-Marlins "likely will be
         even lower" than last year's 17.4 six-game average for Fox's
         Yankees-Braves series (NEWSDAY, 10/17).  But USA TODAY's
         Rudy Martzke writes the series "should average" an 18 rating
         if it reaches six games.  NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol:
         "If we get compelling games like the Indians-Orioles series,
         we'll get compelling ratings" (USA TODAY, 10/17).  
              OTHER: Based on its four primetime games, Fox's
         telecasts of the Indians-Orioles ALCS produced a 9.1/15
         final rating, up 8% over NBC's five-game ALCS in '96.  NBC's
         four primetime Marlins-Braves NLCS games earned a 9.9/18, up
         11% over Fox's seven-game NLCS in '96 (NEWSDAY, 10/17).
              WORLD (SERIES) WIDE WEB: MLB, MSNBC and NBC Sports
         continue to present mlbworldseries.com, the official Web
         site of the World Series (MSNBC).  Total Sports has created
         www.totalworldseries.com, where fans can access any
         information they choose during the game, including a Pitch
         Chart; Play By Play; Stat-Packed Line-Ups; Player Profiles;
         World Series History; and Umpire Analysis (Total Sports).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, MLB, NBC, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, Media, Time Warner, UPS, YankeeNets
  • OUTDOOR LIFE NETWORK HITS THE SLOPES FOR NEW TV SEASON

              The Outdoor Life Network (OLN) will feature 73
         International Ski Federation World Cup events, including 41
         same-day Alpine races in its skiing lineup for the '97-98
         season.  Programming will include downhill skiing, giant
         slalom skiing, snowboarding, jumping and cross country
         races.  OLN will also broadcast five new ski magazine
         programs: "The Ride Guide"; "Skier's World"; "Real Action
         Winter"; "Ski School"; and "Ski Store" (OLN).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Media
  • RATINGS FOR LAST WEEKEND'S NETWORK SPORTING EVENTS

              The following lists overnight ratings from last
         weekend's network sporting events.  All times are EDT. 
         ABC's NCAA football games were: OSU-PSU; USC-ASU; OK-TX; and
         NCSU-GTU.  The numbers were gathered from the networks. 
    
    
    EVENT
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    RAT/SHR
    NCAA Football: (Regional)
    10/11
    ABC
    3:30-7:00pm
    5.3/14
    PGA Tour: Michelob Championship
    10/11
    CBS
    1:00-3:00pm
    0.9/3
    "College Football Today"
    10/11
    CBS
    3:00-3:30pm
    2.0/6
    NCAA Football: ND-PIT/UGA-TEN
    10/11
    CBS
    3:30-7:00pm
    2.9/8
    AL Championship Series Game 3
    10/11
    FOX
    4:00-9:00pm
    6.6/16
    NL Championship Series Game 4
    10/11
    NBC
    7:30-10:30pm
    5.5/11
    IRL Racing Special
    10/12
    ABC
    3:00-5:00pm
    1.1/3
    NASCAR: Winston Cup Diehard 500
    10/12
    CBS
    12:30-4:00pm
    4.5/12
    PGA Tour: Michelob Championship
    10/12
    CBS
    4:00-6:00pm
    2.4/6
    AL Championship Series Game 4
    10/12
    FOX
    7:00-11:00pm
    9.6/16
    "Fox NFL Sunday"
    10/12
    FOX
    12:00-1:00pm
    3.4/11
    "NFL on Fox" Game 1
    10/12
    FOX
    1:00-4:00pm
    9.3/24
    "NFL on Fox" Game 2
    10/12
    FOX
    4:00-7:00pm
    7.2/16
    NFL on NBC Pregame
    10/12
    NBC
    12:00-1:00pm
    2.9/9
    "NFL on NBC" (Regional)
    10/12
    NBC
    1:00-4:00pm
    7.3/19
    NL Championship Series Game 5
    10/12
    NBC
    4:00-7:00pm
    8.5/20

    Print | Tags: ABC, Anheuser Busch, CBS, IndyCar, NASCAR, NBC, NCAA, News Corp./Fox, NFL, PGA Tour, R J Reynolds, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • WORLD SERIES RATINGS HISTORY: NUMBERS FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS

              The following lists World Series household rating
         trends over the past twenty years (Nielsen Sports).
    
         
    YR
    GMS TMS RAT/SHR
    YR
    GMS TMS RAT/SHR
    '77
    6
    NYY-LAD
    29.9/52
    '87
    7
    MIN-STL
    23.9/41
    '78
    6
    NYY-LAD
    32.7/56
    '88
    5
    LAD-OAK
    23.9/39
    '79
    7
    PIT-BAL
    28.0/51
    '89
    4
    OAK-SFG
    16.4/29
    '80
    6
    PHI-KCR
    32.8/56
    '90
    4
    CIN-OAK
    20.8/36
    '81
    6
    LAD-NYY
    30.0/49
    '91
    7
    MIN-ATL
    24.0/39
    '82
    7
    STL-MIL
    28.0/49
    '92
    6
    TOR-ATL
    20.2/34
    '83
    5
    BAL-PHI
    23.3/41
    '93
    6
    TOR-PHI
    17.3/30
    '84
    5
    DET-SDP
    22.9/40
    '94
    '85
    7
    KCR-STL
    25.3/39
    '95
    6
    ATL-CLE
    19.5/33
    '86
    7
    NYM-BOS
    28.6/46
    '96
    6
    NYY-ATL
    17.4/28

    Print | Tags: Nielsen, Media
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