Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
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LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: Fox will air "Daredevils Live: Shattering the Records," tonight from 8:00-10:00pm ET. The show will consist of 70 stunts, including Kaptain Robbie Knievel attempting the longest distance jump on a motorcycle, over 30 limousines (Fox Sports). PERSONALITIES: In N.Y., Bob Raissman reports that CBS's Tim Ryan "will leave the network" following the NCAA basketball tournament to join ESPN, and that his first ESPN assignment will be play-by-play for boxing. Raissman also reviews FSN's "The Last Word," and notes co-host Jim Rome's comment that Tara Lipinski "wears as much makeup as 'a prostitute.'" Raissman: "Hey, maybe this is the kind of slime Fox Sports Net suits were hoping for when they signed Rome. If that's the case, maybe they should consider how they would feel if Rome directed a similar statement at one of their children" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/24)....The CBC said that it "has no intention of firing" Don Cherry, despite his comments about skier Jean-Luc Brassard and separatists. Cherry called Brassard a "French guy, some skier nobody knows about" and called Quebec sovereigntists "a bunch of whiners" during his segments from Nagano (CP, 2/24). NOTES: The Daytona 500 on CBS received an 8.6 rating/23 share on Sunday, February 15 (THE DAILY)....The Sunshine Network announced that it will broadcast 15 MLS Fusion games this season, including nine home games (Ft. Lauderdale SUN- SENTINEL, 2/24)....Boston's WBCN, the Patriots flagship, will announce the team's first draft pick before the selection is announced at the NFL draft. A WBCN exec: "We'll be told by the Patriots before it's given to the draft. Before ESPN, everyone" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/20).
Bob Page was "yanked" as anchor of MSG Network's "SportsDesk," effective immediately, according to Phil Mushnick of the N.Y. POST. MSG, which recently informed Page that his contract would not be renewed, had "originally planned" to keep him on-air through April, but Mushnick reports that Page "has publicly and privately bad-mouthed MSG's decision to let him go," leading to his early removal from the network. Mushnick: "Speculation has mounted that the Garden will offer Page's position to Marv Albert" (N.Y. POST, 2/24). MSG Exec Producer Mike McCarthy, on the Albert speculation: "That is speculation. We've had no discussions with him. I wouldn't rule anything out" (NEWSDAY, 2/24).
NBC's NBA coverage is averaging a 5.9 rating/14 share after 11 weeks of coverage of games played through Sunday, February 15. That rating is up 5% from the '96-97 season, which averaged a 5.6 through the first 11 weeks. On Sunday, the Rockets-Knicks early game earned a 4.2/11 overnight, while the Lakers-Magic earned a 5.4/12 (THE DAILY). NO LOVE LOST: Sunday's Lakers-Magic game marked Shaquille O'Neal's first game in Orlando since signing with the Lakers. During the player introductions, O'Neal was seen and heard saying, "Shut the f--- up" to the crowd -- more than once -- as they booed his introduction (THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand wrote that NBC rookie analyst Isiah Thomas "had his best game so far" during the Lakers-Magic game (USA TODAY, 2/23). An editorial in the ORLANDO SENTINEL said the game was "more about beating L.A. It was even about more than settling an old score with Shaquille O'Neal. It was about community pride and spirit. It was about believing in Magic" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/24).
Time Inc. CEO Don Logan was named Publishing Exec of the Year for '97 by AD AGE in its "Best Magazines" awards section: "Mr. Logan's management style is one that marries tough demands to strong support once a new direction or project is approved and underway" (AD AGE, 2/23 issue). MORE DETAILS ON THE SOURCE: The Source's Publisher David Mays said circulation for its upcoming sports spinoff, The Source Sports, will be "about 300,000-plus." Mays: "These issues will all be different sports, not just a preview of one kind of sport" (AD AGE, 2/23 issue). CLOTHED IN CONTROVERSY? In Las Vegas, Dean Juipe commented on SI's swimsuit issue: "How does [SI] continue to get away with it? How can the world's largest and best-read weekly sports magazine continue to treat women as mindless pawns?" Juipe added that women "could have -- and still could -- put an end to this yearly charade, if only they chose to exert their power" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 2/20). In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes that SI "has changed the annual edition's focus. Good luck figuring out what that focus is." Plaschke also writes that the section with athletes and their wives "could have been called ... 'Setting The Women's Movement Back 25 Years'" (L.A. TIMES, 2/24).