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ESPN, which had two sets on the floor of the Phoenix Civic Plaza, "scored heavily" during yesterday's MLB Expansion Draft, according to Jim Gintonio of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Gintonio: "Tuesday's major league expansion draft was a slick and professional job, just what you would expect." Gintonio: "A big part of [ESPN's] success comes from its light-hearted approach. So why doesn't someone tell Peter Gammons to lighten up a bit? ... There's no doubting his knowledge, but the guy needs to act like he's having a little bit of fun." Gintonio also credits Fox Sports Arizona, which focused on the D'Backs, with maintaining "a good flow" during its coverage (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/19).
CA-based IDG Books Worldwide is publishing "Hockey For Dummies" written by longtime hockey analyst John Davidson. "Hockey For Dummies," a licensed publication of the NHL, includes coaching advice on training and strategies for the game; offers tips for beginners playing the sport; and hints for viewers watching on TV and in person (NHL). BIRD CLIPPED? Pacers Coach Larry Bird "nixed a $200,000 advance" for "Full Court Press," a book about his first year as a coach, "because the offer wasn't lucrative enough," according to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Bird's agent Frank Weimann said his client "deserves big money," but added that he "counseled his client to take the offer" (EW, 11/21).
RATINGS: HBO's "Don King: Only In America" earned a 9.9/15 rating last Saturday, beating all broadcast networks from 8:00-10:00pm ET (N.Y. POST, 11/19)....USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports that Tiger Woods' TV "impact continues," as TBS' golf "Grand Slam" on Monday night received a 1.3 overnight rating, up 18% from '96 (USA TODAY, 11/19)....SRI's SMART TV ratings service was profiled by Valerie Block in this week's CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS. Block: "While hardly a threat yet, the budding service is gaining credibility. ... SMART is already forcing Nielsen, which annually takes in $350 million for its services, to be more responsive." Block writes that SMART "will need to raise" more than $100M, and that observers "doubt that money will ever materialize" (CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS, 11/17 issue). WEB: Wall Street Sports, at www.wallstreetsports.com, was profiled in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL. More than 17,000 people have joined the game where "investors" can buy and sell shares of athletes (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/19). ...InterZine Productions launched The Mountain Club -- the World Wide Web's first year-round membership program for skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and other mountain sports enthusiasts. The membership is accessible via InterZine's sports-specific sites. InterZine publishes THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY (InterZine)....UPS has launched its World Wide Web site dedicated to the company's Olympic sponsorship. The site is www.ups.com/olympics/ (UPS).