SBD/29/Sports Media

Print All

              Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan and News Corp. Chair
         Rupert Murdoch officially launched Fox Sports Net (FSN) last
         night at a ceremony in The Theater at MSG.  NYC Mayor Rudy
         Giuliani joined Dolan on stage and symbolically flipped
         switches which connected all of the network's affils.  All
         Cablevision Rainbow Media RSNs that were known as
         SportsChannel, including NY, OH, New England, Chicago and
         Pacific, will now be known as Fox Sports NY, Fox Sports OH,
         Fox Sports New England, Fox Sports Chicago and Fox Sports
         Bay Area.  The MSG Network will keep its name, but will
         feature some FSN programming.  New logos for each re-branded
         channel were unveiled at the event, along with a taped
         prospectus of what the newly launched FSN can offer in the
         way of reach for national advertisers (THE DAILY).
              THE EVENT: FSN's Kevin Frazier and Van Earl Wright
         anchored "Fox Sports News."  At 7:00pm ET, Frazier said, "We
         invite you to celebrate television history in the making."
         Fox's James Brown served as emcee while Murdoch appeared via
         satellite from London.  Murdoch: "Fox has always been a huge
         believer in sports programming, and we believe Fox Sports
         Net is the future of sports television."  Dolan: "We are ...
         very confident that the Fox Sports Net is poised to become
         the premiere sports network in America" (THE DAILY).   
              FROM THE POWER PLAYERS: Earlier in the day, Cablevision
         CEO James Dolan said that FSN "will provide viewers across
         the country with unprecedented levels of choice and quality
         in televised sports."  Fox Sports President David Hill, on
         bringing the Fox "attitude" to regional sportscasts: "What
         we're trying to do is to ramp up the production of local
         teams so that it looks like a full network broadcast."  Fox
         TV CEO Chase Carey, on the aggregate ratings of FSN: "When
         you look at what our ratings will be combined on an NBA game
         or an NHL game or an MLB game, combined against the national
         games that are done [on TNT, TBS, ESPN, etc.] ... we will
         have ratings that are multiples ... of what those guys are
         doing."  Hill, on competing with ESPN: "Are we going to cut
         into ESPN's ad revenue?  Absolutely.  But I think that as
         time goes on, I think the two services are pretty much
         supplementary."  More Hill, asked if there is too much
         sports programming: "If there's one great thing about
         sports, it's that it's unscripted.  And the guy in the white
         hat doesn't always get to kiss the horse.  Sports is the
         last frontier of reality in television" (THE DAILY).
              TIERED-PACKAGES: Cablevision Chair Charles Dolan told
         the N.Y. DAILY NEWS that "somewhere in the not-too-distant
         future, viewers will be paying a premium for packages they
         now receive as part of their basic cable package."  Dolan,
         on a tiered system: "If [the cable subscriber] wants all of
         the games of all of the teams -- great.  He can buy Fox
         Sports New York and MSG together as part of a package, or he
         can buy one of them separately.  What I hope will happen is
         we can pull teams out from the packages so if the subscriber
         wants to buy the games of one particular team he can have
         just that" (Bob Raissman, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/29).
              MORE PROGRAMMING: FSN will premiere "Going Deep,"
         hosted by Joe Buck, on February 1.  The 60-minute weekly
         sports magazine show will offer a "behind-the-scenes look"
         at the names and issues "shaping the world of sports" (FSN).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, Madison Square Garden, MLB, NBA, NHL, Media, Turner Sports, Walt Disney

              WGN-TV will televise 92 Cubs games during the '98
         season -- about 50 fewer than last year, according to
         Hirsley & Jones of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.  The station
         "characterized the decision as TV baseball history squeezed
         by TV baseball economics: The Cubs need to be taken off WGN
         at times for their own good."  Hirsley & Jones: "Lower-rated
         baseball broadcasts need to be replaced by higher-rated
         entertainment shows so those programs can generate more ad
         revenues to pay higher baseball bills as the cost of
         fielding a competitive team continues to escalate."  While
         Cubs games averaged a 4.7 rating last season, programs like
         "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Dawson's Creek" receive
         higher ratings.  Most of the games taken off WGN will be
         moved to CLTV, the Cubs' local cable partner, also owned by
         Tribune Co.  But Hirsley & Jones note that CLTV's signal
         "doesn't reach beyond the immediate Chicago area," and added
         that "about" 30% of Chicago-area viewers don't have cable.
         Tribune Broadcasting Co. President Dennis FitzSimons:
         "Ultimately, the Cubs have to be competitive in terms of
         revenue they can generate for telecast rights if they're
         going to put a competitive team on the field."  FitzSimons
         "stressed" that WGN still will carry more MLB games than any
         over-the-air station this year.  FitzSimons: "Advertising
         budgets are not designed to support a 140-game (broadcast)
         schedule.  There's a reason why no other (non-cable) station
         is carrying [92] games" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/29).  Also in
         Chicago, Dave Van Dyck writes, "Where the Cubs will be hurt
         is in the marketing of a team that built itself through ivy-
         walled, sunny afternoon baseball on free TV."   In addition
         to Cubs games, WGN will show 52 White Sox games and
         "several" end-of-season Bulls games (SUN-TIMES, 1/29).
              AND BUFFY? Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray, on being
         replaced by programming like "Buffy": "Well, hell, I'm more
         attractive than Buffy. ... Oh yeah.  She's a gorgeous hunk
         of a woman.  She may be good-looking, but she doesn't have
         anything to do with baseball" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/29).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, MLB, Media

              PERSONALITIES: Greg Gumbel will return to CBS Sports on
         March 1, in time for its coverage of the NCAA Men's
         Basketball Tournament.  Gumbel said that the "chance to call
         football lured him back to CBS," and that he was
         "disappointed" that NBC hadn't named him as the No. 1 NBA
         play-by-play man (N.Y. TIMES, 1/29)....The crisis in the
         White House and the events in Iraq "may keep Dan Rather from
         anchoring [the CBS Evening News] next week at the Winter
         Olympics in Nagano" (USA TODAY, 1/29)....Former Indians
         coach Dave Nelson was named to the Indians radio broadcast
         team, along with Mike Hegan.  They will join Tom Hamilton,
         who will take over as play-by-play man for Herb Score
         (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/28)....HTS "is expected to
         announce" that former Yankees analyst Rick Cerone will
         become an analyst on Orioles TV broadcasts (SUN, 1/29).
         ...Former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware, who played last
         season in the CFL, "is trying to work out a deal with Fox"
         to work college football games (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/28).   

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, CBS, CFL, Cleveland Indians, Comcast-Spectacor, NBA, NBC, NCAA, New York Yankees, Media, Viacom

              Sports Illustrated named Michael Klingensmith as its
         new president, replacing Donald Elliman, who's stepping down
         "for personal reasons," according to Keith Kelly of the N.Y.
         DAILY NEWS.  Kelly's "insiders" said that Elliman's "son is
         ill and Elliman has spent the past year commuting from
         Denver," where his son has been undergoing treatment. 
         Elliman, who has been with Time Inc. for 26 years, and
         President of SI since '92, will continue with Time Inc. on
         special projects.  Klingensmith, who had been President of
         Entertainment Weekly since he founded it in '90, would "not
         reveal specific plans, but said he was sticking with Bill
         Colson as editor."  Time Inc. CEO Don Logan said that SI
         "will explore spinning off other SI products, including
         other magazines."  Logan, on the potential for SI
         Women/Sport and an SI for teens title: "I don't know if
         either will see the light of day, but you'll see a lot of
         print products -- including new magazines -- that are tied
         to the SI brand" (DAILY NEWS, 1/29).  Fabio Freyre and John
         Jay will continue as Associate Publishers of SI, responsible
         for ad sales and marketing, respectively (N.Y. TIMES, 1/29). 

    Print | Tags: Sports Illustrated, Media
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug