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It "looks" like Conde Nast Sports For Women "is now headed for a major relaunch at mid-year," according to Keith Kelly of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. After conducting recent focus groups, the title hired Mary Murray as its new Exec Editor in charge of "stepping up fitness and nutrition coverage." Conde Nast Editor Dir James Truman "insisted the company has not hit the panic button." But Kelly notes "one sign of potential circulation weakness" is that after "slicing back" to six issues a year and "buying" Women's Sports + Fitness, Sports For Women "has no plans to boost" circulation beyond 350,000. Kelly: "That shows possible weak newsstand or subscriber support for the magazine." But Publisher Suzanne Grimes said, "I don't think it reflects circulation weakness at all. We bought [Women's Sports + Fitness] primarily for the name." The magazine also plans to hire another Senior Editor to "focus entirely on fitness" and will come up with a new logo that could debut in June (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/27).
TEAM NOTES: ESPN's SkyCam will make its debut tonight during the Panthers-Red Wings game (Pittsburgh POST-GAZETTE, 2/26)....MLB Devil Rays games on SportsChannel FL will not be shown in Orlando because cable carrier Time Warner "says there's not enough interest in baseball." Orlando's WNTO, however, will carry 41 Devil Rays' telecasts this season (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/27)....Fox Sports Chicago is signed for 11 MLS Fire games, beginning with the opener March 21 at Miami (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/27)....Fox Sports New England will carry 20 regular season games and up to four playoff game of the MLS Revolution (FSNE). NOTES: In L.A., Larry Stewart reports that most west coast ABC affils will not air Saturday's Duke-UNC game, 2:00pm EST, because "the ABC children's programming division is reluctant to give up any of its Saturday morning time block to the sports division." It will be shown in L.A. however, as ABC made a "one-time-only exception" with KABC (L.A. TIMES, 2/27)....WinStreak's sports contests division, SHARC, has launched The '98 Fantasy Golf Challenge, co- sponsored by Cobra Golf and MasterCard. SHARC will administer the golf contest on its Web site (IGN).
NBC "is wasting little time grabbing the Olympic TV torch from CBS," according to Michael Hirsley of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Beginning in March, CNBC will air "The Olympic Show," a half hour devoted to Olympic sports and athletes, every Saturday through the 2002 Games in Salt Lake. Hosted by Dan Hicks, the mix of features and one-on-one interviews "embodies NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol's vow that heavy promotion and storytelling will remain the Peacock's priority for Olympic coverage" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/27).
The following lists ratings from last weekend's non- Olympic network events. All times are EST. ABC College basketball: CLEM-UVA, LOU-MEM and AZ-OR. The numbers are from the networks (THE DAILY):
EVENT DATE NET TIME RAT/SHR NCAA Basketball: regional2/21ABC1:30-4:00pm1.2/4 PGA Tour: Tucson Open2/21ABC4:00-6:00pm2.2/6 NCAA Basketball: BC-Georgetown2/21NBC2:30-4:30pm0.8/2 WNBA Special2/21NBC4:30-5:00pm1.1/3 High-Performance Golf2/21NBC5:00-6:00pm1.0/3 NCAA Basketball: UCLA-Duke2/22ABC1:30-4:00pm1.7/4 PGA Tour: Tucson Open2/22ABC4:00-6:00pm3.3/8 NCAA Basketball: Indiana-Michigan2/22CBS1:00-3:00pm1.8/5 "NBA on NBC": Rockets-Knicks2/22NBC1:00-3:30pm3.1/8 "NBA on NBC": Lakers-Magic2/22NBC3:30-6:00pm4.8/12