SBD/24/Sports Media

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). 

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