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ESPNEWS will name the "ESPNEWSmaker of the Week" as selected by ESPN SportsZone users starting tomorrow. The weekly segment will be aired during the 5:00-6:00pm ET ESPNEWS simulcast on ESPN2. Three candidates for the top newsmaker will be named by ESPN personnel and voted on by Web users from Thursday at 3:00pm to Friday at 8:30am. The selection will be announced later that day (ESPN).
CBS Sports will broadcast NASCAR's Winston Cup Pepsi 400 live from Daytona Int'l Speedway in primetime beginning in '98. The '98 Pepsi 400, to air from 8:00-11:00pm ET on July 4, marks the first time a network will broadcast an auto race live in primetime (CBS Sports). CBS Sports President Sean McManus: "The popularity of NASCAR racing has really blown us out of the water in the television industry. It gets bigger and better every year" (Juliet Macur, ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/20). McManus: "The only racing that would be successful in prime-time on the network would be Winston Cup. What goes in prime-time has a direct relationship between ratings and ad sales. No other sport demonstrated that like Winston Cup" (Milton Kent, Baltimore SUN, 11/20).
In N.Y., Richard Wilner previews the NFL TV rights negotiations. Westinghouse CEO Michael Jordan said that despite the record bidding expected for the rights, CBS would "play in the NFL. We can afford to play" (N.Y. POST, 11/20)....The CBC's coverage of the CFL Grey Cup drew 2.8 million viewers, falling below the average of three million recorded over the previous seven years (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/20). In comparison, the audience for Game One of the Red Wings-Flyers '96-97 Stanley Cup Finals drew 2.1 million last season (CP/EDMONTON JOURNAL, 11/20)....CBS Sports will broadcast the Nike Cup, an exhibition featuring Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Marcelo Rios, on December 21 from 2:00-3:00pm ET. The event, a benefit for the Tim and Tom Gullikson Foundation, takes place December 12 at the Rose Garden in Portland, OR (CBS Sports)....Since its debut November 1, Fox Sports World has averaged a 1.0 rating for weekend afternoons on N.Y.'s WPXN, the second- highest rated programming block in all dayparts on WPXN (Fox Sports Net). In related news, Bud Paxson launched the U.S.'s seventh TV network yesterday, calling his collection of over 70 stations, PAX NET. Paxson execs said that WPXN's contract to broadcast Fox/Liberty Sports will expire in August '98 and "probably won't be renewed" (N.Y. POST, 11/20)...Sports Marketing & Television Int'l (SMTI), a division of NY-based The Marquee Group, has been retained by the National Thoroughbred Racing Assoc. (NTRA) as its exclusive TV agency (The Marquee Group).
The PPV industry has surpassed the $1B mark this year for the first time, according to Scott Hettrick of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Showtime Event Television's Mark Greenberg said that SET estimates gross revenues for the PPV industry will reach $1.27B this year and will cross the $1B barrier "even by excluding" the adult PPV market. Boxing PPV revenues generated $256M in '97. Hettrick reports that SET's second Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield fight "accounted for 25% of all revenue from PPV events in 1997, nearly 40% of revenue from PPV boxing and about 10% of all PPV movie and event revenue excluding adult entertainment." Tyson- Holyfield II earned $100M in PPV revenues. Revenues from PPV events "hovered around" the $200M mark "for about five years" until '96 (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 11/20).