SBD/12/Sports Media

COLTS' NEW RADIO DEAL HAS SOME IN CITY UPSET AT IRSAY'S MOVE

          The Colts will replace WIBC-AM as its radio flagship
     for WFBQ and WNDE, according to Robin Miller of the
     INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS.  Colts Exec Dir of Business
     Development Ray Compton said the deal was not signed "yet,"
     but that the team had "verbally accepted another offer." 
     Compton added the new deal enables the team to market their
     own advertising and programming.  WIBC was the original
     flagship of the Colts in '84, but lost the rights to WFBQ
     and WNDE in '92, before "regaining them" in '95.  WIBC Owner
     Jeff Smulyan, who has "lobbied long and hard to keep" the
     Colts in Indianapolis, was "seething" after the decision. 
     Smulyan: "My understanding is that the offers were
     identical, and it's incomprehensible they could have offered
     more than we did. ... Where's the loyalty?"  Compton said it
     was "as tough a decision as he's ever made."  Although terms
     were not disclosed, Miller reported that WIBC paid $1M for
     rights fees in '97, and that Compton is "hopeful" that
     figure "can double by selling in-house advertising" (STAR-
     NEWS, 1/9).  Miller writes today under the header, "Colts
     And Irsay Hit All-Time Low With Radio Deal."  He calls the
     move "an appalling breach of trust, friendship and community
     relations" from team Owner Jim Irsay to Smulyan after
     Smulyan "gave Irsay invaluable support in reworking his
     stadium lease with the city" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 1/12).

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