SBD/9/Sports Media


          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).

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