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  • A-B'S PONTURO HOPES NBC HAS MORE OF AN EYE ON YOUNG MEN

              Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch's VP/Corporate Media and
         Sports Marketing, said Monday that "both the low household
         ratings and the lower numbers of young male viewers will
         force the company to sit down" with NBC execs before the
         Sydney Summer Games in 2000, according to Kirk & Jones of
         the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.  Ponturo felt that CBS's coverage
         "ignored male viewers and played a major role" in the low
         ratings.  Nielsen Media reports that the '98 Games drew
         "only" a 9.3 rating with males ages 25-54, compared with a
         17.1 rating in '94.  Ponturo: "You have to make sure women
         are intrigued with the Olympics.  But we're now concerned
         that the pendulum is so far over the 21-to-34-year-old male
         is saying that 'you're not talking to me anymore.'"  Ponturo
         said that A-B "may take the unusual step of asking" for NBC
         "to guarantee an audience with a more specific makeup --
         namely, young men -- when it negotiates" its advertising for
         the next Games (Kirk & Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/24). 
              BELIEVERS: AD AGE's Jeff Jensen reports that A-B, AT&T
         and Coca-Cola are "expected to announce within weeks deals
         to advertise on NBC's broadcasts of the next five Olympic
         Games."  A-B's pack is valued at around $375M for the NBC
         rights.  Jensen: "Although advertisers will try to leverage
         the poor performance of CBS to squeeze NBC for lower rates
         in 2002, observers said that will be difficult."  Momentum
         IMC Managing Dir Mark Dowley: "I don't see the problems of
         Nagano even putting a dent in the marketability of the next
         Winter Olympics" (AD AGE, 2/23).  DAILY VARIETY's Richard
         Katz reports that CBS's sub-par performance "did not have
         implications" for the 2002 Salt Lake Games.  TN Media Senior
         Partner Steve Sternberg: "Salt Lake City is going to be a
         home run no matter what" (DAILY VARIETY, 2/24).
              FROM OZ: NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol "anticipates
         no problems" with broadcasting the Sydney Games.  Despite
         the time difference, "despite everything being on tape,
         Ebersol said his production will be propelled by
         storytelling."  Ebersol: "The Summer Olympics is a 26-ring
         circus, and there's never a paucity of events to put on. 
         And Americans are medal participants in all sports. ...
         We've shown that the Olympics have to be produced more as
         entertainment than a sporting event. ... There is a lot more
         fragmentation out there, from on line, so they'd better hit
         the emotional high points all the time" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Anheuser Busch, ATT, CBS, Coca-Cola, NBC, Nielsen, Olympics, Viacom
  • CBS'S FINAL NUMBER OF 16.2 MARKS THIRD LOWEST WINTER GAMES

              CBS's primetime coverage of the Nagano Games averaged a
         16.2/26, which is down 13% from Albertville in '92 and down
         42% from Lillehammer in '94.  CBS estimates that 184 million
         viewers watched all or part of the Games, making it the
         third most-watched event in TV history, trailing only
         Atlanta in '96 and Lillehammer in '94.  In the February
         Sweep-to-date, CBS has a 16.0/25, which is 70% ahead of
         NBC's 9.4/15, 122% ahead of ABC's 7.2/11 and 103% ahead of
         Fox's 7.9/12.  CBS announced that its O&O stations averaged
         a 17.5/27 for their primetime coverage, boosting ten of the
         13 O&O's to first place in their respective markets (CBS
         Sports). Sunday's Closing Ceremony earned an 11.7/18 from
         8:00-11:00pm ET, and was beat out by ABC's telecast of
         "Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding," which scored a
         16.9/26 from 9:00-11:00pm ET (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/24). 
              PLACE IN HISTORY: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke notes the
         16.2 rating makes its the third-lowest Winter Olympics in
         history.  Grey Advertising's Jon Mandel: "By not running
         events, CBS lost the men, and because the warm-and-fuzzy
         pieces weren't so warm and fuzzy, women didn't watch" (USA
         TODAY, 2/24).  Sanford C. Bernstein & Sons' Tom Wolzien said
         CBS was the "victim of just plain bad luck ... plus, you had
         some very aggressive counter-programming from the other
         networks. ... I think there were some very sophisticated
         programming tactics that were used this time" (CHICAGO
         TRIBUNE, 2/24).  In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes, "By
         various measures, the ... Games were highly successful." 
         The net posted strong February sweeps numbers, did well with
         its O&Os and David Letterman's "Late Show" beat out NBC's
         "Tonight Show" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).  DAILY VARIETY's Rich
         Katz writes that industry observers called CBS's performance
         "disappointing," but said it "would still benefit the net."
         Katz adds that CBS "will turn a profit" on the Games, since
         by adding "additional commercial times into its Olympic
         coverage late in the second week, CBS helped ensure it would
         not lose money on the event."  Katz notes "several" analysts
         predict CBS will see a $30M profit (DAILY VARIETY, 2/24).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, NBC, News Corp./Fox, Olympics, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • ENDORSEMENT PROFILE: SOME QUESTION IF ANYONE WILL CASH IN

              No U.S. athletes in Nagano are "likely to enjoy
         anything close to the record" $5M in endorsements that Mary
         Lou Retton took home after the '84 Summer Games, according
         to USA TODAY's Bruce Horovitz.  Horovitz: "If consumers
         didn't watch the Nagano Games, why would they suddenly buy
         products hawked by medal winners?"  While eight gold medal
         winners graced Wheaties boxes after the '96 Games, only the
         U.S. women's hockey team is featured this year.  Wheaties
         spokesperson Pam Becker: "Customers felt we cheapened the
         equity by putting too many athletes on the box after the
         Summer Olympics."  Gold Medal Management's Brad Hunt, who
         represents Picabo Street, said it could be 90 days before
         she signs her next deal: "You can't make a status report one
         day after the closing ceremonies."  D&F's Allen Furst said
         that his group is negotiating with "several Japanese firms"
         for his client, Nicole Bobek (USA TODAY, 2/24).
              LOOKING AHEAD: The IOC has formed an internal committee
         called the Millennium Olympics Group "to plan out
         Millennium-themed marketing activities that would culminate"
         at the 2000 Syndey Games (AD AGE, 2/24).  USA TODAY's Bruce
         Horovitz wrote that advertisers "already are gearing up" for
         Sydney as marketing teams from GM, Coca-Cola and McDonald's
         are set to meet to "plot strategy" (USA TODAY, 2/23).       
              AD REVIEWS: In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reviews ads around
         the Games, writing on the "poor performance" of Madison Ave.
         with "dreadfully dull commercials" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Coca-Cola, IOC, McDonalds, Olympics, Wheaties
  • LOOKING AHEAD TO SALT LAKE: COULD TRIPP HAPPEN?

              Linda Tripp, involved in the President Clinton-Monica
         Lewinsky dispute, "is a final candidate for a plum
         government job helping to coordinate" the 2002 Games,
         according to Brian Blomquist of the N.Y. POST.  Tripp is one
         of three finalists for the civilian liaison job for the
         Army.  Pentagon execs "wouldn't comment" (N.Y. POST, 2/22).
              MORE FROM UTAH: Salt Lake's preparations are featured
         in USA TODAY's sports cover story by Jill Lieber under the
         header, "New Utah Motto: Be Prepared" (USA TODAY, 2/24).
         ...U.S. Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) and U.S. Rep. Merrill
         Cook (R-UT) said they are "more convinced than ever the
         federal government must help pay for the 2002 Winter Games
         in Salt Lake City" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 2/22)....SLOC will
         have "at most" 50 licensees, compared to 160 in Nagano, and
         expects to raise about $35M of the more than $1B needed to
         host the 2002 Games (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 2/21).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Olympics, SLOC
  • OLYMPIC NOTES

              MORE REAX FROM NAGANO: In Toronto, Al Strachan: "The
         people who ran this Olympics did so with a degree of
         gentility, civility and politeness that absolutely
         astonished Olympic veterans" (TORONTO SUN, 2/24).  In San
         Jose, Ann Killion: "Japan restored dignity to the Games. 
         The corporate sponsors were here but low-key" (MERCURY NEWS,
         2/24).  In Boston, Bob Ryan: "The Nagano Olympics worked for
         everyone. ... The Olympics are the Olympics are the
         Olympics, and if American TV can't get a proper handle on
         it, the fault lies within itself, not the event it is trying
         to cover" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/24).  A SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
         editorial: "The Olympics have become an overly commercial,
         overly professional and overly political event, but they
         still have their moments" (EXPRESS-NEWS, 2/24).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Olympics
  • WAS NHL EXPERIMENT WORTH IT? LATE NIGHT SHOWS THINK SO

              Although Team USA came home without a medal, the 
         Olympic "experience wasn't a waste, at least according to
         the NHL.  They say the purpose was to get worldwide exposure
         for the sport," according to CNBC's Don Dahler.  NHL VP
         Bernadette Mansur: "Over eleven billion people across the
         planet watched the Olympics."  Dahler: "Even though the
         games aired late, delayed, and to relatively small ratings,
         they were some of the highest rated hockey games ever seen
         on U.S. TV."  Mansur: "We have a very young demographic. 
         We're stronger than any other sport in the 18-34.  And that
         demographic stuck with us."  Dahler: "When word got out that
         some of Team USA's superstars acted like superbrats, some
         observers began to question if the great experiment was
         worthwhile."  But sports marketing consultant Scott Carter
         said that for the league, "Ultimately the benefits far
         outweighed the shortcomings" ("The Edge," CNBC, 2/23).
              ANOTHER VOTE FOR A RETURN: In N.Y., columnist Dave
         Anderson supports the league's return for the Salt Lake 2002
         Games: "Don't let those who trashed the room spoil what is
         the world's center stage for hockey" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24). 
              LAUGH TRACKS: On the "Late Show," David Letterman: "I
         thought the Olympics and the closing ceremonies generally,
         kind of ended up on a bad note when the U.S. men's hockey
         team drank several cases of beer and tried to extinguish the
         Olympic flame" ("Late Show," CBS, 2/23).  On the "Tonight
         Show," Jay Leno said, "Even though war has been avoided, the
         word is out that the Clinton administration may try some
         covert action to try and topple Saddam Hussein.  What
         they're gonna do is send the U.S. Olympic hockey team over
         and have them just trash the place" (NBC, 2/23).
              AS OPPOSED TO? Canadian Hockey Association VP Bob
         Nicholson, on his team's fourth place finish: "I don't think
         it was a disaster at all.  We certainly didn't get the gold
         medal we were after, but the players themselves were
         outstanding" (Grant Kerr, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/24).  
              MLB: USA TODAY's Hal Bodley writes MLB "can forget
         about sending players to the Olympics.  The [NHL] proved in
         Nagano it doesn't work."   MLB President Paul Beeston: "When
         we talked about this, we said we had the benefit of being
         able to observe what happened with the NHL in the Olympics. 
         Sure, there are some concerns now" (USA TODAY, 2/24). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, MLB, NBC, NHL, Olympics, Viacom
  • WITH GOLD MEDAL, HOW FAR CAN WOMEN'S HOCKEY HOPE TO GO?

              While the women's U.S. hockey team won the gold, "most
         people connected with the sport think it's ready for a
         small-scale regional pro league at best, and perhaps not
         even that," according to Barbara Huebner of the BOSTON
         GLOBE.  USA Hockey Exec Dir David Ogrean: "A full-fledged
         professional league is a ways down the line.  I think we
         need to move forward, but realistically forward."  Ogrean
         calls the Women's Professional Hockey League (WPHL), led by
         Hockey East Dir of Media Relations Ed Saunders, "in the near
         term probably one of the best ideas."  Its four teams would
         have 20 players each, paid $500-$1,000 per game.  Ogrean
         sees the "biggest boost" of the women's gold medal at the
         youth, high school and college level (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/24). 
         The WPHL is profiled by BLOOMBERG, as Jack McGregor, one of
         the league's investors, said the WPHL will incur startup
         costs of $1-1.2M.  Site selection for the four franchises
         will be announced in March (BLOOMBERG/N.Y. POST, 2/24).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Olympics
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