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CA-based Callaway Golf "just keeps growing and growing," according to Michael Johnson of GOLF WORLD. The company is now planning to enter the publishing business, with the formation of Callaway Golf Media Ventures. The venture is "still in the embryonic stage," and Callaway President & CEO Donald Dye says the company is "exploring a number" of media-related "possibilities," including a "Callaway Golf Guide," which would be produced with Callaway Golf Editions. Dye: "This will not be a vanity piece. It will be a newly created series of books that will have true, hard writing about golf." With the new projects, Dye "dismisses" talk that the company "might be getting away from its core business." Dye: "It's not like we're headed into tennis, skiing or running shoes. ... We define our business as golf and anything that relates to it. This is merely an extension of the way we currently do business. ... [W]e're not getting into other things out of concern (about the club business)" (GOLF WORLD, 10/31).
Marv Albert will return to NBC in an appearance on the "Today" show on November 13, according to Richard Huff of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Albert is "expected" to appear during the show's first hour and stay for a "lengthy" interview with Katie Couric. Albert will appear on ABC's "20/20" on Friday, CNN's "Larry King Live" on Monday, and CBS' "Late Show" on Wednesday (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/5). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke writes that some sports agents "doubt" that Albert is taking the "correct path back to broadcasting" following his conviction last month. IMG Senior VP Barry Frank: "I just think it's best to do nothing in these instances and let it blow over. The more you rehash it, the more you keep it out there." RLR Associates' Bob Rosen: "Perhaps Marv's still in a state of denial." But Albert's agent, Evan Bell, defends the appearances because people "want to know what happened" (USA TODAY, 11/5).
M'S TV DEAL: The Mariners have agreed on a three-year contract with KIRO-TV for the station to continue as the over-the-air rights holder for game telecasts through the 2000 season. The new deal calls for 62 to 65 over-the-air telecasts, with some of the games being carried by KSTW. The team also announced that both Rick Rizzs and Ron Fairly will return to the Mariners broadcast team next season, joining Dave Niehaus in the booth (Mariners). NOTES: NC-based A&J Sports, publishers of ACC Athlete Magazine, will receive "up to" $5M in new financing from Duke alum Jim Gills through Gills' diversified holding company, FL-based Jireh Inc. A&J co-Founder Alan Rodgers said the company will use the money to launch three other conference magazines -- for the SEC, Big Ten and one "undisclosed" conference -- and to increase marketing efforts throughout the ACC (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/4). NFL NOTES: ESPN's Sunday night Lions-Packers game drew "nearly" 7.2 million households to lead all basic cable programs, while ESPN's "NFL PrimeTime" drew 2.95 million households to rank eighth on the week (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 11/5)....ABC's "MNF" Steelers-Chiefs game earned a 15.7/26 rating. A special "Primetime Live" with Mike Tyson/Michael Jordan earned a 7.2/12 (WASHINGTON POST, 11/5).
Fox/Liberty Networks launched Fox Sports World last weekend, but it "could be some time before many viewers will be able to watch the network," according to Richard Katz of MEDIAWEEK. MSO operators, "smarting from recent tough sales tactics on behalf of Fox/Liberty's regional sports channels," said that they "are not overly bullish" on the new channel. MediaOne Programming Dir Rob Stengle: "I think they might be a tad shy about coming to us after jamming us with massive rate increases on regional sports networks." Stengle also "expressed reservations" over the new network's "programming quality." However, Fox/Liberty Exec VP Rich Battista said that he is "confident" that cable operators won't punish Fox Sports World for the "deeds of its sister networks" (Richard Katz, MEDIAWEEK, 11/3 issue) "SUNDAY TICKET" COULD COST MORE: The threat of a "sharp escalation" in copyright costs to all DBS providers "could put a damper on the industry's collective growth," according to Michael Burgi of MEDIAWEEK. DBS "could be hit by a move last week by the Librarian of Congress to quadruple the fees it pays broadcast networks and superstations" from the current $.07 a subscriber to $.27. Burgi writes if the DBS industry "sees its costs go up, it will likely pass those costs onto subscribers" (MEDIAWEEK, 11/3 issue).