SBD/11/Sports Media

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              ESPN will launch ESPN West, an RSN servicing Southern
         CA, NV and HI, beginning October '98 in conjunction with the
         start of the NHL season.  The 24-hour service will include
         regional coverage of the Disney-owned Mighty Ducks, starting 
         with the '98-99 season, and the Angels, beginning with the
         '99 season.  A full schedule is in development (ESPN).
              RSN WAR HEATS UP: In L.A., Larry Stewart writes that
         ESPN West will be the first of what ESPN hopes is a number
         of RSNs to "combat" Fox Sports Net.  ESPN Exec VP/Sales &
         Marketing George Bodenheimer said ESPN West will carry 40
         Mighty Ducks games next season along with 37 Angels games in
         '99 and 50 in 2000.  Stewart notes since Fox has the Lakers
         and Kings "locked up until 2010," and the Clippers for four
         more years, that "doesn't leave much local inventory for
         ESPN West."  High school and local college sports are
         possibilities.  While Bodenheimer said no price for the RSN
         has been set, he said it would be "fair."  The ESPN West
         announcement was made at a cable convention in Anaheim, and
         a number of cable execs attending "questioned" its creation,
         "wondering if there is room for yet another sports channel
         and also how ESPN could make it economically feasible."  One
         source said the Angels and Ducks, combined, are giving up
         about $8.5M a year in local TV rights fees "by leaving the
         Fox family."  Stewart: "Add to that about $3.5 million in
         production costs, and ESPN West would need to bring in $11
         million a year to break even" (L.A. TIMES, 12/11).  In
         Anaheim, Scott Hettrick reports that ESPN West will reach
         about 4.4 million homes.  He adds that the new RSN "presents
         a difficult situation for area cable operators, most of
         which agreed recently to add" Fox Sports West 2 and its
         coverage of the Dodgers and Ducks.  The combined cost to
         operators for FSW and FSW2 is more than $1.50 per subscriber
         per month.  In '99, Angels coverage will be shared between
         Fox Sports West and ESPN West before shifting exclusively to
         ESPN West in 2000.  ESPN "plans to fill a large portion" of
         the ESPN West schedule with feeds from ESPNEWS (HOLLYWOOD
         REPORTER, 12/11).  In N.Y., Bruce Orwall writes ESPN "is
         late getting into the regional sports business that Fox has
         dominated."  Orwall adds that forming more ESPN RSNs "will
         in many cases mean trying to pry teams away from Fox," but
         ESPN "is confident that it can put together programming
         packages that are more attractive than its competitors"
         (Bruce Orwall, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/11).   

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Ducks, ESPN, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, NHL, Media, Walt Disney

              The Panthers-Cowboys game on "MNF" drew a 17.6/30
         national rating (WASHINGTON POST, 12/11) "did its
         best to expunge all record" of former Warrior Latrell
         Sprewell from its site when he was suspended.
         programming coordinator Daria DeBuono: "It doesn't always
         happen that quickly.  We happened to be on top of that one." 
         The Warriors' official home page, hosted by, "didn't
         just erase his bio page, but took him out of the official
         team stats" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 12/10)....DETAILS reviews
         ESPN's "SportsCenter" in its "The Good, The Bad, And The
         Inexplicable Meter": "It naps without [Keith] Olbermann's
         snaps.  Bad jokes, no personality ... why stay up late when
         you can watch your local sportscaster?" (DETAILS, 12/97). 

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, ESPN, Golden State Warriors, NBA, Media, Walt Disney

              NBC CEO Bob Wright said yesterday at the PaineWebber
         Media Conference in New York that NBC will post profits this
         year of $1.1-1.2B, up from $953M last year, according to
         Collier & Battaglio of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  But Wright
         said that there is a limit on how much the network will pay
         to retain rights to the NFL's AFC package: "Everything has a
         price."  Later during the conference, CBS CFO Fred Reynolds
         discussed the NFL TV talks: "While we're interested, I don't
         see the incumbents giving that up" (HOLLY. REPORTER, 12/11). 
              TURNER IN CA: At the Western Cable Show in CA, TCI
         President Leo Hindery said the "sun has set" on the growth
         of the DBS industry "and that there will be no more big
         entertainment deals such as the Disney/ABC and Time
         Warner/Turner mergers," according to Scott Hettrick of the
         HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  But Time Warner Vice Chair Ted Turner
         said, "There will be more big deals."  Turner, noting the
         restructuring at TCI this year: "It may turn out at some
         point in the future that these big companies like Time
         Warner and Disney are too big and unwieldy" (HOLLYWOOD
         REPORTER, 12/11).  Turner and his wife, Jane Fonda, were
         interviewed on "PrimeTime Live" by ABC's Sam Donaldson. 
         Turner, on Rupert Murdoch: "He doesn't have much in the way
         of principles. ... You can have a lot of stuff and not have
         principles."  Turner, after Donaldson noted that Murdoch
         owns the Dodgers: "He doesn't have them yet.  I mean, it's
         got to be voted on by the owners" (ABC, 12/10).

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, Los Angeles Dodgers, NBC, NFL, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney

              NBC and the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) have agreed to
         a new four-year TV contract extension beginning in 2000,
         which keeps the U.S. Open on NBC through 2003.  Under the
         new deal, NBC will continue to retain exclusive U.S.
         broadcast rights to the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women's Open,
         the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Amateur championships. 
         NBC will also continue to produce its U.S. Open Preview and
         annual Year in Review shows.  NBC's current deal with the
         USGA began in '95 and runs through '99 (NBC Sports).  In
         N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports that the new contract will
         cost NBC about $18M a year (N.Y. TIMES, 12/11).

    Print | Tags: NBC, Media, USGA
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