SBD/9/Sports Media

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  • DESPITE ACRIMONIOUS DEPARTURE, FRANK DEFORD RETURNS TO SI

              Frank Deford is returning to Sports Illustrated as a
         special contributor beginning March 1.  Deford, a six-time
         National Sportswriter of the Year, wrote for SI for 27 years
         before leaving in 1989.   Deford will continue to serve as a
         commentator for HBO's "Real Sports" and NPR (SI).  
              APOLOGY ACCEPTED: In N.Y., Keith Kelly reports that
         Deford's return to SI "ends a high-stakes bidding war"
         between SI, ESPN Magazine and Newsweek, where Deford
         finishes a two-year deal next month.  Deford returns to SI
         after "a highly unusual move" in which Time Inc. Editor-in-
         Chief Norman Pearlstine "apologized to Deford for statements
         made by some company officials back" in '89 when Deford left
         SI for The National.  Deford received the apology letter
         from Pearlstine in December.  Deford: "I needed this kind of
         letter to consider going back."  Kelly reports that Deford
         will do a minimum of three long-form stories per year and
         will also make speeches and promotional appearances for SI. 
         Kelly's industry sources "estimated the deal at about
         $150,000 to $200,000 per year" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/9).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, HBO, Sports Illustrated, Media, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • MEDIA NOTES

              RATINGS: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley reports that Packers
         games in the area received an average rating of 49.8 per
         game -- more than four points higher than the 45.5 last
         season.  The number means that 33,660 more households, on
         the average, watched games following the team's '96 Super
         Bowl win (JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/9)....In Houston, David Barron
         reports that the Rockets-Raptors game on Monday did a 6.7/9
         -- the lowest Rockets rating since a January '95 game. 
         Tuesday's Rockets-Cavs did an 8.6/12, which Barron called a
         "marked improvement," but still lower than "all but two
         Rockets games last season" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/9).
              NOTES: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "refused" to run an
         anti-Steelers ad in its Friday edition.  The "aggressive,
         adult oriented 'Go Broncos' ad" was designed by KBPI-FM in
         Denver.  The ad "invited Steeler fans to call" the morning
         show on KBPI "and admit they are losers."  KBPI has agreed
         to let the Post-Gazette edit the ad and run "a more
         conservative" spot (KBPI)....ESPN and the distributors of
         the "ESPN Full Court" college basketball package are
         offering subscribers a free preview on January 31 and
         February 1, in conjunction with late-season suggested retail
         pricing of $49 for the rest of the season (ESPN). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Denver Broncos, ESPN, Green Bay Packers, Houston Rockets, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Pittsburgh Steelers, Media, Toronto Raptors, Walt Disney
  • MSG RADIO TALKS THE TALK -- WILL KNICKS AND RANGERS WALK?

              MSG Radio Network "is launching its first non-event
         radio programming," as WABC-AM in N.Y. will air "Sunday
         Night Sports Talk With John Sterling and Michael Kay" from
         6:00-9:00pm on Sundays, according to Phil Mushnick of the
         N.Y. POST.  Sterling and Kay are the Yankees' radio voices. 
         Mushnick adds that it "is becoming a foregone conclusion
         that after next season, when WFAN's deal to carry Knick and
         Ranger games expires, those broadcasts will be carried over
         the MSG Radio Network.  Whether MSG continues to buy time
         from another station, or purchases a station for its own
         remains to be seen" (Phil Mushnick, N.Y. POST, 1/9).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, New York Yankees, Media, YankeeNets
  • MULTIPLE REPORTS HAVE NFL TV TALKS DRAWING TO A CLOSE

              During meetings of the NFL TV committee in the past few
         days, "each of the incumbents (ABC, Fox, NBC, ESPN and
         Turner) received proposals from the league seeking
         substantial increases in rights fees," according to sources
         of NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay.  Zipay's "league source" said, "If
         they [the networks] meet the numbers -- and they're expected
         to -- (the negotiations are) over."  One senior network
         exec, who requested anonymity, said that there was "more
         than a 50-50 chance of an announcement" before next Friday. 
         Zipay writes that a deal could be announced "possibly as
         early as next Tuesday" (NEWSDAY, 1/9).  USA TODAY's Rudy
         Martzke reports that a deal could be finalized "as early as
         Wednesday."  He writes the league "is expected" to see "an
         increase of as much as 63%-64%," from $1.1B to $1.8B per
         year.  He adds that ABC's "Monday Night Football" could see
         the largest increase, up 97%, to $450M per (USA TODAY, 1/9).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, NBC, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Media, Walt Disney
  • SPORTS ATOP NIELSEN'S MOST WATCHED TV PROGRAMS OF ALL OF '97

              Earlier this week, THE DAILY listed the top ten most
         watched TV programs in prime time in '97, according to
         Nielsen Media.  Today, we give you the top ten most watched
         programs of the year.  NOTE: The DAL-CAR and PIT-NE
         telecasts were divisional playoff games (THE DAILY). 
    
    
    PROGRAM NET DATE RAT
    PROGRAM
    NET DATE RAT
    Super Bowl XXXI
    Fox
    1/26
    43.3
    NFL:DAL-CAR
    Fox
    1/5
    27.6
    S. Bowl Kickoff
    Fox
    1/26
    33.8
    Academy Awards
    ABC
    3/24
    27.4
    NFC Championship
    Fox
    1/12
    30.1
    Wo. Series Gm 7
    NBC
    10/26
    24.5
    S. Bowl Post-Game
    Fox
    1/26
    29.8
    NFL: PIT-NE
    NBC
    1/5
    21.2
    AFC Championship
    NBC
    1/12
    28.5
    NBA Finals Gm 5
    NBC
    6/11
    20.1

    Print | Tags: ABC, NBA, NBC, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Nielsen, Media, Walt Disney
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