SBD/29/Sports Media

ADIOS SPORTSCHANNEL, HOLA FOX SPORTS NET

          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).
     
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