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  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE EXAMINES THE "CRAZY" BIDS FOR NFL TV RIGHTS

              When the NFL completes its TV rights negotiations, a
         combined $7B will be committed by five networks over the
         next four years, according to Jones, Kirk & Hirsley of the
         CHICAGO TRIBUNE.  Jones, Kirk & Hirsley: "The competition
         for pro football TV rights, which may be resolved within the
         next two weeks, is a cutthroat, price-inflating game of
         musical chairs. ... Therefore, the price for the rights will
         likely be 50 percent higher than the $4.6 billion contract
         awarded in 1993. ... Is the bidding crazy?  Sure it is. 
         Stupid?  Probably not, because in the media economy created
         by televisionland, enormous leaps in sports rights contracts
         are part of the game."  Westinghouse Chair Michael Jordan:
         "The sports business, you have to recognize, is a zero-
         profit business.  We all essentially run the sports business
         at break-even.  Hopefully."  Jones, Kirk & Hirsley add that
         for advertisers, football "is demonstrably the most
         efficient way to reach men."  FCB Senior VP/Dir of Media
         Scot Butler: "Because prime time is eroding so quickly,
         sports from an advertising standpoint becomes more
         attractive.  They [sports ratings] are holding steadier than
         anything else out there" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/22). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: NFL, Media
  • MEDIA NOTES

              ONLINE: AOL Studios, which has been "coming up with
         snazzy online content targeted at mass TV audiences and
         Internet surfers who may be bypassing AOL," is examined in
         BUSINESS WEEK.  Among AOL Studios' new content is the Real
         Fans Sports Network, "expected early next year."  AOL
         Studios purchased Extreme Sports, which will relaunch as
         "the core" of Real Fans (BUSINESS WEEK, 12/1)....Tiger Woods
         will launch his new Web site and "Club Tiger," his new fan
         club, on December 2 in Orlando, FL.  The Web site is being
         launched with SportsLine USA (AD AGE, 11/23).   
              GENERAL: In San Diego, Fritz Quindt ranks his top
         football announcing teams, with Fox's Pat Summerall and John
         Madden No. 1, followed by NBC's Dick Enberg, Phil Simms and
         Paul McGuire and ESPN's Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann. 
         Quindt: "However, the gap between [Summerall and Madden] and
         the creme de la networks has been closing, and the current
         margin of brownie points between Nos. 1 and 3 is thinner
         than Kate Moss" (UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/21)....In N.Y., Michael
         Shain profiled Total Sports, which "has created its own
         imprint" to publish its own books, and will release "Total
         Hockey" next year.  Total Sports is also negotiating with
         the NBA to do a "Total Basketball."  "Total Baseball"
         Publisher John Thorn said that Total Sports, which merged
         with NC-based Koz Sports last year, has combined revenues
         "of less than" $10M, and that the new company will "extend
         the concept" of the "Total Baseball" and "Total Football" to
         non-team sports such as boxing, auto racing and "maybe even
         chess" (N.Y. POST, 11/23)....The Canucks will televise four
         regular season home games on PPV cable in British Columbia. 
         The four-game package will cost C$34.95, and single games
         may be selected for C$9.95.  The games will be sponsored by
         Molson Canadian and be commercial free (VAN. SUN, 11/20).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, NBA, NBC, News Corp./Fox, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Media, Time Warner, Vancouver Canucks, Walt Disney
  • NHL'S CANADIAN MAKEOVER: TSN OUT AS CTV INKS FOUR-YEAR DEAL

              The NHL announced a new Canadian cable agreement with
         CTV Sports Net for English language cable telecast rights in
         Canada.  The four-year deal will take effect at the start of
         next season.  CTV will broadcast 27 regular-season games,
         including two broadcasts for each of the Canadian teams, as
         well as coverage of up to 14 first-round playoff games of
         U.S.-based clubs (NHL).  In Toronto, Rob Longley called the
         deal "a stunning hit from behind" for incumbent rights
         holder TSN, adding that CTV's new sports network "will gain
         instant credibility in the Canadian TV marketplace." 
         Sources put the deal at C$60M (TORONTO SUN, 11/22).  
              DETAILS: NHL Senior VP & COO Steve Solomon said that
         the CTV offer was "modestly higher" than the TSN offer.  TSN
         President Jim Thompson: "We lost it.  We're obviously very
         disappointed."  When asked why TSN lost the rights, Thompson
         said, "Don't know" (Rick Matsumoto, TORONTO STAR, 11/22). 
         Also in Toronto, David Shoalts called the deal "a
         devastating blow" to TSN, and added that "there had been
         complaints" from Western teams that TSN "was too Toronto-
         oriented" in its programming.  Insiders "believe TSN lost
         the contract because it was unwilling to pay more than
         [C]$10 million a year," and that CTV "had agreed to pay more
         than" C$60M over four years (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/22).  In
         Montreal, Pat Hickey: "The question is whether [CTV] can
         convince cable companies to buy the product and pass the
         cost on to their viewers.  The question is whether there are
         enough advertising dollars to carry CTV Sports Network
         during the days when there is no hockey" (GAZETTE, 11/23). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: NHL, Media
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