SBD/3/Sports Media

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  • BARRY'S BIG MOVE: DILLER CONSOLIDATES USA NETWORKS MARKETING

              Barry Diller has "engineered his first major move" as
         head of USA Networks, "consolidating the programming,
         marketing and promotion of" USA, Sci-Fi Channel, Home
         Shopping Network and America's Store, the four cable
         networks in his portfolio, according to John Dempsey of
         DAILY VARIETY.  Doug Holloway, USA Network Exec VP/
         Distribution & Affiliation, said the four networks will be
         "both entertainment and transaction oriented."  Holloway
         said that USA's 100 hours of sports programming, which
         includes U.S. Open tennis and Tuesday night boxing, will be
         "natural targets for the selling of sports merchandise on
         the shopping channels."  There will also be incentives for
         cable system owners, who will collect a percentage of each
         sale "chalked up within" their coverage areas, which will
         allow them to "pocket extra revenue" from the sale of
         products on USA's shopping channels (DAILY VARIETY, 3/3).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Media, USA Networks
  • IS VECSEY VENOMOUS OR VERY INFORMED? PAYTON THINKS FORMER

              Sonics G Gary Payton led a "boycott" of NBC after
         studio analyst Peter Vecsey made "detrimental comments"
         about Payton's practice habits and inferred that Payton was
         a bad influence on teammate Vin Baker, according to Glenn
         Nelson of the SEATTLE TIMES.  Payton has since "relented"
         and did prep work with NBC personnel during the All-Star
         Game, but "with the stipulation that Vecsey not be present." 
         Nelson: "Vecsey and his chronic misinformation are as big a
         menace to the NBA as Isaiah Rider, Psycho-ly or any of them.
         His erroneous, rip-job reports regarding Shawn Kemp severely
         damaged a player's reputation as well as created a rift
         between player and city that ultimately could not be mended. 
         Payton should be applauded for, as far as we know, being the
         only NBA player with enough you-know-what to stand up to
         sports' No.1 rumor-monger" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/1).
              MICROPHONE MOVES: Mike Patrick has "turned down a
         larger offer" from CBS and will remain at ESPN.  Patrick,
         who had been earning $400,000 a year, passed on CBS's five-
         year, $4M offer, to stay at ESPN for "slightly more than"
         $3.5M.  He will continue to lead ESPN's Sunday night NFL
         telecasts and work college basketball games and the College
         World Series (USA TODAY, 3/3)....CBS has signed Verne
         Lundquist to its NFL play-by-play team (Bob Raissman, N.Y.
         DAILY NEWS, 3/3)....In N.Y., David Hinckley calls
         speculation that Marv Albert will rejoin MSG "intriguing"
         and notes that when WFAN President Joel Hollander toyed with
         the idea of hiring Albert last October "he was carpet-bombed
         for a week."  Hinckley: "Now, four months later, MSG's idea
         raises barely a peep. Amazing turnaround" (DAILY NEWS, 3/3).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, CBS, ESPN, Madison Square Garden, NBA, NBC, NFL, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • MEDIA NOTES

              CASEY AT BAT: Casey Martin's return to the Nike Tour at
         the Greater Austin Open "can be seen this week only on" The
         Golf Channel, which will "train a dedicated camera" on him
         (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 3/3).  In Austin, 176 media
         members have applied for credentials, where the media
         trailer accommodates 32 reporters.  A tent will handle the
         overflow (Harry Blauvelt, USA TODAY, 3/3).
              NOTES: While the New Boston Garden Corp. is suing Fox
         Sports New England (FSNE), claiming they are owed "almost"
         $300,000 for FSNE's use of their broadcasting facilities in
         fall '95, FSNE GM Marc Edwards said that he "is confident
         the court will find his company doesn't owe the money"
         (Howard Manly, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/3)....HBO's "Inside The NFL"
         will return for its 22nd year next fall (HBO).  In N.Y.,
         Steve Zipay reports that HBO agreed to a four-year deal with
         the NFL at a 20-30% "increase," with the league "able to re-
         open" after two years.  The show will feature four to eight
         minutes of additional highlights, a new set and new
         animation.  Contracts with on-air talent "are being
         renegotiated, but some roles may change" (NEWSDAY, 3/3).
         ....CNN debuted a new, 30-minute soccer show called "World
         Cup Weekly" which airs on CNN/SI and CNN Int'l from now
         through the end of May.  The show airs Saturdays at 2:30pm
         ET and re-airs on Sundays at 12:30pm ET (U.S. Soccer).
         ...ESPN will televise the 1,000th NHL game in its history on
         March 8, with the Penguins-Flyers game (ESPN)....For the
         third year in a row, NY-based WFAN-AM was the USA's top-
         billing radio station, according to BIA Research.  The all-
         sports station held that spot in '96, with an estimated
         $47.7M in revenue (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 3/2). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Comcast-Spectacor, ESPN, HBO, News Corp./Fox, NFL, NHL, Nike, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Sports Illustrated, Media, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • POSITIVE SYNERGY? ESPN BRAND MAY BECOME MORE VISIBLE ON ABC

              Disney is "considering tying its successful ESPN sports
         channel more closely to ABC Sports - possibly replacing the
         ABC Sports moniker in some programming," according to
         Michael Stroud of BROADCASTING & CABLE.  A more visible
         linkage could give ABC Sports programming "stronger brand
         recognition," while giving extra exposure to the ESPN brand
         as Disney launches ESPN restaurants and retail stores. 
         Cowen & Co. analyst Harold Vogel called the possible
         scenario an "interesting example of the cable network tail
         wagging the broadcast network dog."  Since ESPN's "strong"
         profit has "helped to counter" ABC's "lesser" contribution
         to Disney's earnings, Stroud wrote that bolstering ESPN's
         role "makes fiscal sense."  Hearst Corp., which owns 20% of
         ESPN "would likely approve the plan," although support from
         ABC's union members "is less certain" (B&C, 3/2 issue). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, Media, Walt Disney
  • RATINGS NEWS & NOTES: TIGER'S ROAR DRAWS VIEWERS TO CBS

              CBS's Sundays broadcast of the Nissan Open final round,
         which saw Billy Mayfair defeat Tiger Woods in a playoff,
         earned a 6.0 overnight rating, up 40% from last year (USA
         TODAY, 3/3).  CBS's 6.0 overnight topped the Sunday numbers,
         as NBC's early national Knicks-Lakers game earned a 4.8/12
         overnight, while its late regional game earned a 5.0/11. 
         Also on Sunday, ABC's broadcast of the inaugural Las Vegas
         400 earned a 4.6/14 preliminary overnight (THE DAILY).
              MORE NUMBERS: TNN's coverage of the Goodwrench Service
         Plus 400 NASCAR Winston Cup on February 22 marked the
         highest-rated NASCAR event ever on cable TV, earning a 5.6
         rating.  The telecast was also TNN's largest audience ever,
         with 3,954,000 viewers.  The race was the highest-rated
         cable program of the week ending February 22 (TNN).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Cablevision, CBS, Los Angeles Lakers, NASCAR, NBC, New York Knicks, Nissan, R J Reynolds, Media, TNN, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • TIMES MIRROR MAGAZINES ACQUIRES INTERZINE PRODUCTIONS

              Times Mirror Magazines (TMM) has acquired InterZine
         Productions, owners of THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY and creator
         and developer of sports Web sites including iGOLF, iSKI,
         SOL/Snowboarding Online, iBIKE, and iRACE.  InterZine and
         TMM online products will be operated as a single interactive
         division and be closely aligned with Times Mirror's
         magazines in their respective markets.  TMM publications
         include The Sporting News, GOLF Magazine, Ski Magazine,
         TransWorld Snowboarding and Verge, among others.  TMM
         President & CEO Efrem Zimbalist III said "[i]t is not often
         that you can find a company like InterZine which has
         developed state of the art internet products which fit so
         strategically with our own brands."  Michael Dubester,
         president of The Sporting News Online, will be president of
         the interactive division responsible for all online products
         and will report to Scott Kabak, TMM's Senior VP/Operations &
         Multimedia.  Brian Henley, Founder & CEO of InterZine, will
         work closely with Dubester on interactive products and
         strategy in his new position as Executive Director of
         Interactive Media (Times Mirror).  In Ft. Lauderdale, L.A.
         Lorek writes that InterZine and TMM "initially" met to
         discuss a possible partnership, but the acquisition "worked
         out better."  Henley: "The Internet is ready to take off. 
         There will be fewer players in this industry.  This makes
         both of us stronger" (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 3/3).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Media, Vulcan Ventures
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