SBD/4/Sports Media

TV SPORTS 101: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER OFFERS HISTORY LESSON

          The relationship between sports and TV was examined in
     an extensive front-page story by Seplow & Storm in today's
     PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER.  Seplow & Storm: "Sports, perhaps
     more than any other aspect of American life, has been
     changed by television.  It has made sports a multibillion-
     dollar industry.  In the process, athletes have been
     transformed from mere heroic figures, able to throw farther
     and run faster than other mortals, into highly skilled,
     highly paid commodities, props to boost ratings and sell
     advertising.  That's why the networks concentrate so hard on
     profiles of Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, Ken Griffey Jr. and
     Tiger Woods.  The television-sports partnership depends on
     personalities to keep fan interest high."  In '96, sports
     coverage "consumed" 2,100 hours of time on the four networks
     -- 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year -- not counting ESPN and
     other cable networks (PHILADELPHIA INQURIER, 12/4).
          PARTNERS: THE INQURIER's Seplow & Storm: "Virtually no
     experience is as commonly shared on such a mass basis. ...
     Sports and television have developed such a symbiotic
     relationship that neither can live without the other."  NBC
     Sports President Dick Ebersol: "[I]n our society, outside of
     the Oscars, no major event will get you a large audience but
     baseball postseason, the Olympics, the NBA championship, the
     Super Bowl, and a few golf events.  We use that to put our
     other wares on the shelf" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/4).

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ESPN, NBA, NBC, Seattle Storm, Media, Walt Disney

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