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Overnight ratings from Nielsen Media Research indicate the Orange Bowl received an 11.4/19 for CBS on Friday, while the Rose Bowl earned a 19.0/33 for ABC on New Year's Day, according to Stephen Battaglio of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The Orange Bowl rating, even if it is "bumped up" in final national ratings, "will be significantly below last year's championship game," the Sugar Bowl, which received a 17.9/29 for ABC. ABC's Rose Bowl rating was up 4% from '97. In other New Year's Day bowl ratings, ABC received a 9.7/19 for the Citrus Bowl, up 17%, and an 11.7/19 for the Sugar Bowl, up 22% from last year's comparable game, the Fiesta Bowl. CBS' Cotton Bowl was up 10% from '97, earning a 6.9/14 (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 1/5). In DC, John Carmody writes the Orange Bowl game "easily won a rare Friday night first place for CBS." He also adds that ABC's Sugar Bowl gave the net a win on Thursday night (WASHINGTON POST, 1/5). DIMINISHING RETURNS FOR BOWL GAMES? On ESPN SportsZone, Frank DeFord wrote that the "bowls have started to run into a little problem. That is: Nobody much wants to go watch them. ... all the attention around New Year's now is devoted to the NFL playoffs" (ESPN SportsZone, 1/3).
ROSE BOWL REVIEWS: In DC, Leonard Shapiro wrote on ABC's telecast of the Rose Bowl and said he "loved ABCs cablecam, a remote-controlled eye in the low sky that moved up and down the sideline to provide panoramic replays from a much closer angle than usual" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/3). But in N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote that CableCam "isn't very revealing on a football field when action goes north-south and east-west, and it didn't reveal much more about play development than the standard high-angle camera does" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/2). In Toronto, Rob Longley called ABC's telecast of the Rose Bowl a "shining light both in terms of excitement and production" (TORONTO SUN, 1/5). OTHER NOTES: In N.Y., Mary Huhn wrote that ESPN magazine is one of the two "biggest bets in publishing for 1998." ESPN Senior VP/GM John Skipper "plans on doubling its initial guaranteed circulation of 350,000" (N.Y. POST, 1/2)....HBO received a 10.1 cable rating for its boxing card featuring Prince Naseem Hamed vs. Kevin Kelley, "well above" its 8.5 average boxing rating (N.Y. TIMES, 12/26).
The Heat have linked with Silver King Broadcasting, new to the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale market, on a five-year, over- the-air TV deal. Silver King's new CityVision format will launch on WYHS this spring, and will feature sports, news and other entertainment programming. The new partnership, starting next season, will include expanded pre- and post- game shows, Heat highlight programming and other promotional opportunities. Silver King is a division of Barry Diller's HSN, and WYHS is the first station to launch its new programming format. The Heat also announced a five-year agreement that will keep its games on Sunshine Network, which has held its rights since '91-92 (Heat). DETAILS: Heat Exec VP Mike McCullough said that Silver King "offered more ways to promote the team" than WBFS-UPN, the team's over-the-air home for five years. Silver King said that game days will be touted as "Heat Day on its station." Sunshine and Silver King are each "expected to show 30 to 40 games," and will use a joint production team "to promote continuity" (SUN-SENTINEL, 12/24). MORE SPORTS: Silver King Exec VP Adam Ware: "Several (sports) organizations have shown interest in our programming concept. ... We are the new player in local sports rights." Ware said that Silver King, which owns 11 stations in 10 markets, "is offering a lot more to teams" than regular affils. While NBA restrictions on national distribution will "probably prevent" games from airing on Diller's USA Network, Ware said that they "may use the Heat as the basis for other programming that would eventually air on other Silver King stations and USA." Ware: "We could develop a show with Pat Riley that would be filmed in Miami and there's no reason that couldn't be syndicated by Universal or put on USA" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 12/30). BIG TIME: Diller's media empire is profiled by Phyllis Furman in the N.Y. DAILY NEWS: "Diller is the No. 1 media mogul to watch this year as he tries to scratch his way back to the top of the media business" (DAILY NEWS, 1/5).