SBD/18/Sports Media

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              Rogers Communications, Canada's "largest cablecaster,"
         will distribute "NFL Sunday Ticket" beginning next season,
         and will hold the exclusive Canadian TV rights through the
         '99 season, according to Etan Vlessing of the HOLLYWOOD
         REPORTER.  The price for the subscription package will be
         announced just prior to the start of next season, but a
         spokesperson for Rogers said it "would likely be in the same
         range" as the $159 price charged in the U.S. by DirecTV
         (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 12/18).  In Toronto, Shawna Richer
         reports that the CFL "is trying to get in on" the Rogers/NFL
         deal.  CFL Chair & Rogers Multi-Media President John Tory
         said that there is a clause in the deal that "allows adding
         CFL games to the package."  Rogers cable subscribers in
         parts of Ontario will see a free nine-game preview of the
         service this Sunday (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 12/18).

    Print | Tags: CFL, DirecTV, NFL, Media

              For Hollywood's international distributors and
         exhibition partners, World Cup '98 "means box office
         disaster as fans stay home to watch the games" on TV,
         according to Christopher Pickard of VARIETY.  This is
         "forcing the entertainment community to come up with
         contingency plans" for the key weekends of June 12-14, 19-21
         and 26-28, and July 3-5 and 10-12.  In some markets,
         distributors and exhibitors will try counterprogramming, or
         cut ticket prices to lure the few not watching soccer; "in
         other parts of the world, the business is expected simply to
         go into hibernation until the championship is awarded."  In
         addition, women's interest in soccer is a "complicating
         factor when it comes to planning any form of
         counterprogramming."  Overall, 41 billion viewers are
         expected to watch the World Cup games (VARIETY, 12/21).
              AT HOME: Despite hosting the '94 Cup, "the U.S. seems
         to remain blissfully unaware of the full impact of the Cup
         outside its borders."  Pickard notes that some countries
         declare national holidays when their teams play. But Pickard
         adds, "Chances are the U.S. media still underestimate the
         interest in the games within America, especially given the
         large immigrant population" (VARIETY, 12/21 issue). 

    Print | Tags: Media

              In San Diego, Fritz Quindt reported that the Chargers
         have signed a one-year deal with KFMB-FM making it their
         flagship radio station, "officially ending an 11-year run
         on" XTRA-AM.  Although terms we not disclosed, Chargers
         Owner Alex Spanos "confirmed" that the team was offered $15M
         for five years earlier by XTRA and didn't resign.  KMFB GM
         Bob Bolinger said the contract "may evolve" into a multi-
         year deal.  Quindt added one "unique" item about the deal is
         that Chargers games will be simulcast on KMFB-AM "when there
         are no Padres or [SDSU] conflicts" (UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/18).
              FAMILY MAN: Chicago's WGN announced that Chip Caray
         will join his grandfather, Harry Caray, and Steve Stone in
         the broadcast booth for 50 Cubs games during the '98 season
         (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 12/18).  Caray will continue doing his
         "MLB on Fox" Saturday assignment from June to through the
         end of the season (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/18).
              NOTES: The Broncos-49ers game on "MNF" earned a 40.7/60
         overnight in the Bay Area (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/18).
         ....The LPGA's agreement with Mercury to sponsor seven
         events on ESPN and ESPN2 is "more about exposure than
         increased revenue," according to USA TODAY's Jerry Potter.
         LPGA General Counsel Ty Votaw said that the series is a
         "modified time buy," where Mercury and other sponsors will
         pick up the expense.  While the deal won't give the LPGA
         increased TV revenue through rights fees, Votaw adds that it
         helps financially because events will be able to sign
         sponsors since they are being televised (USA TODAY, 12/18).
              PAGE TURNERS: USA TODAY lists the top selling sports
         books outside its top 50: No. 115) "Everest: Mountain
         Without Mercy," by Broughton Coburn; No. 130) "A March To
         Madness," by John Feinstein; No. 222) "The Climb: Tragic
         Ambitions on Mt. Everest," by Anatoli Boukreev; No. 234)
         "1998 Sports Almanac," by the SI editors (USA TODAY, 12/18).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Cubs, Denver Broncos, ESPN, LPGA, MLB, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco 49ers, Sports Illustrated, Media, Walt Disney

              CA-based Hunter Media has created the NFL Team Fan
         Pack, an officially-licensed screen saver package with
         trivia, stats, coaches, famous players, animated logos,
         icons and sound bites for each NFL team.  Engineered for
         Windows 95, Windows 3.1 and Macintosh, the NFL Team Fan Pack
         comes on a CD that features all 30 teams.  The screen saver
         offers three modules: Team Scrapbook, Greatest Games and
         Stadium Mania.  The package also includes a desktop
         wallpaper function which allows the user to select from a
         number of team photos/logos.  The Fan Pack also comes with a
         free month of Internet service from Sprint.  Suggested
         retail price for the Team Fan Pack is $27.95 (Hunter Media).

    Print | Tags: NFL, Media, Sprint

              TCI President Leo Hindery said yesterday that the
         upcoming NFL TV rights contract "will drive up cable rates
         next year," according to Tim Jones of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. 
         Hindery said the NFL TV deal "will add more pressure to
         cable rates, which this year went up an average" of 8.5%
         nationally.  Hindery predicted the resulting rate increase
         will be "in the mid-single digits."  Hindery said that
         recent record sports contracts put cable operators "in a no-
         win situation with their customers because the costs are
         ultimately passed on in the form of higher rates."  Hindery:
         "These numbers are hurting my relationship with my
         customers.  It's everything that I can do to explain that
         ... it ain't me, buddy" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/18).

    Print | Tags: NFL, Media

              NBC has reached a new multi-year deal to continue its
         coverage of the French Open tennis championships.  The new
         contract takes effect this May, when NBC will carry 17 hours
         of coverage over two weekends (NBC Sports).  NBC has covered
         the French Open since '83 (THE DAILY).
              WHEN WITH ROME: Fox Sports Net will premiere "The Last
         Word," a nightly half-hour sports debate program featuring
         Jim Rome and Wallace Matthews, on January 5.  The show will
         air Monday-Saturday at 12:00 midnight, and will be repeated
         at 6:00pm the following day, Monday-Friday (FSN)....Fox
         Sports announced it will broadcast three installments of
         skiing's "Sprints, Bumps & Jumps Championships" beginning
         December 21 from Steamboat Springs, CO.  Ensuing broadcasts
         will be February 7 and March 28.  The event combines
         elements of mogul and aerial freestyle skiing (Fox Sports).
              THE GREAT OUTDOORS: The Outdoor Life Network will
         feature exclusive coverage of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials
         in Skiing, Speed Skating, Bobsled, Biathlon and Curling as
         well as the U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup this January.  The three-
         week coverage, which will run from January 3-25, will
         consist of 13 hours from the Trial events, and eight hours
         from the U.S. Ski Team Cup....In other news, Outdoor Life
         will also carry the '98 UCI World Mountain Bike
         Championships, set to take place September 19-21 at Mont-
         Sainte-Anne, Quebec.  The network will offer 16.5 hours of
         coverage over the three day event (Outdoor Life Network).

    Print | Tags: NBC, Media

              U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "approached
         the NBA in November, asking if the league would supply
         programming" to the Balkan area as "part of an effort to
         help support war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina," according to
         Langdon Brockinton of MEDIAWEEK.  The NBA finalized a deal
         with the OBN network, which reaches "about" 80% of the
         Bosnian and Herzegovinan population, under which OBN will
         air two NBA games per week as a well as the weekly half-hour
         highlights show, "NBA Action."  The first game "is expected"
         to air "before the end of the month."  The league currently
         delivers league programming to neighboring Croatia, Serbia,
         and Montenegro (Langdon Brockinton, MEDIAWEEK, 12/15 issue).
              NBA NOTES: Brockinton also reports that NBC is "said to
         have sold about" 90% of its NBA ad time for this season. 
         For February's All-Star Game, NBC has sold "all but about"
         three or four 30-second spots, and is "said to be asking"
         $450,000 for each of the remaining units.  NBC is also
         "getting ready to pitch" new four-year NBA sponsorship
         packages to incumbent automotive sponsors, with the price
         "likely" to "climb considerably."  Also, Turner Sports has
         moved "about" 90% of its regular season ad inventory, and
         85% of its postseason time (MEDIAWEEK, 12/15 issue).

    Print | Tags: NBA, NBC, Media
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