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  • A NEW SPORTS CENTER? ESPN THE MAGAZINE TO DEBUT THIS WEEK

              ESPN will televise ESPN The Magazine, at 7:30pm ET on
         Wednesday March 11, a half-hour look at its new magazine
         unit the day before it debuts nationally (ESPN).  NEWSWEEK's
         Richard Turner profiles the magazine's launch, which is a
         "true frontal assault on SI's turf."  ESPN Magazine's "credo
         is a variation on what has been the rap (partly unfair,
         partly out-moded) against SI for decades: too old, too
         white-guy, too country-club.  Your father's magazine, with a
         slightly moralizing tone.  On oversized pages, ESPN will be
         closer to the feel of a Nike ad or MTV.  It will 'celebrate'
         sports and be a fan, not a paunchy, cynical sportswriter." 
         Disney "expects to spend" $75M on the unit, which has a
         first issue guaranteed circulation of 350,000, which Turner
         calls "a good start" (NEWSWEEK, 3/16 issue).
              WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: ESPN Magazine Editor John
         Papanek said the publication will be forward looking and not
         "a news magazine."  Papanek: "We're going to assume the
         readers of our magazine know the results, have seen the
         highlights, seen 'SportsCenter,' heard the analysis"
         (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/8).  In N.Y., Keith Kelly reports that
         ESPN "is aiming" for an average reader of 29-years-old.  It
         will launch with 108 ad pages, "joining an elite group of
         magazines," and hopes to hit 500,000 subscribers by
         September.  While the SI "franchise" today clears more than
         $100M-a-year in profits, insiders say Disney doesn't expect
         to make a profit on the ESPN unit "until 2003" (N.Y. DAILY
         NEWS, 3/9).  Also in N.Y., Paul Tharp puts the magazines ad
         pages at 107 and worth $2M.  Tharp: "Media experts say that
         the oversized format of ESPN will sit on the stands for two
         weeks and could grow stale in the fast-changing world of
         sports" (N.Y. POST, 3/9).  In previewing the launch, Lisa
         Magenheimer cites a recent survey showing that 78% of
         American adults "recognize the name" ESPN and each week 42%
         of all "men tune in to the ESPN network" (TAMPA TRIBUNE,
         3/8).  In publishing weeks, ESPN Magazine will reach
         subscribers on Wednesday and Thursday (L.A. TIMES, 3/8).   
         
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Nike, Sports Illustrated, Media, Walt Disney
  • FOX SPORTS PITTSBURGH KEEPS PENGUINS GAMES, AT LEAST FOR NOW

              Fox Sports Pittsburgh (FSP) will "continue to broadcast
         Penguins games at least through the end of this season,"
         while the network and team "battle over disputed" TV rights,
         according to David Brown of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. 
         On Friday, Judge Judith Friedman "continued a temporary
         restraining order" that blocks Pittsburgh Hockey Associates,
         owner of the Penguins, from "immediately" dropping FSP and
         broadcasting its team's game on its own cable network. 
         Friedman also established a schedule of legal action in the
         dispute that could lead to a trial "no sooner than June 1." 
         After the ruling, both sides "claimed a degree of success,"
         with FSP attorney Greg Jordan saying the injunction was
         upheld because the network's case is "very strong."  Brown
         wrote that the ruling does not restrain the newly created
         Marino Sports Television "from promoting, developing and/or
         operating as a regional sports network."  Yale Gutnick, an
         attorney for Penguins Owners Roger Marino and Howard
         Baldwin, said the owners "intend to move forward with their
         [TV] business aggressively" (TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/7).  
              CRITICAL OF TEAM: In Pittsburgh, Steve Sampsell called
         the dispute "unsettling."  Sampsell: "Here's a hockey team
         that wants its players to honor its contract and its trying
         to break its arrangement with the existing regional sports
         channel."  Sampsell, on the decision to name its channel
         after Marino, who is from Boston: "That'll really help build
         ties with the region.  What's wrong with Pittsburgh Sports
         Television?" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/8).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: News Corp./Fox, Pittsburgh Penguins, Media
  • MAGIC AND SOLAR BEARS LIKE LIFE JUST FINE ON THE SUNSHINE

              RDV Sports, the parent of the Magic and the IHL Solar
         Bears, has extended both teams TV deals with the Sunshine
         Network.  The Magic's deal will continue through the 2000-
         2001 season, and will provide Sunshine with rights to a
         minimum of 44 regular season games, plus two preseason games
         and available playoff games.  The Solar Bears agreement runs
         through 2002, and includes a minimum of 20 regular season
         games, plus available playoff games. RDV Sports' partnership
         with Sunshine also includes additional programming as well
         as promotional and advertising tie-ins.  RDV Sports, with
         assistance from Sunshine, is constructing a 5,000 square-
         foot TV and radio production facility, opening in September
         '98, at its recently opened RDV Sportsplex (RDV Sports).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bears, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports, Media
  • MEDIA NOTES

              Chiefs RB Marcus Allen, who has a year left on his
         contract, "discussed" a job on CBS's NFL studio show with
         network officials last week (K.C. STAR, 3/6)....Tim Ryan is
         leaving CBS shortly to join Fox and NBC Sports.  Ryan will
         call NFL games for Fox, and will work the 2000 Summer
         Olympics, the 2002 Winter Olympics, and the world skiing
         championships for NBC (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 3/7).
         ..In BUSINESS WEEK, SportsLine USA CEO Michael Levy said
         that he thinks his Web site's Olympic ratings were
         "undercounted," but he remains "optimistic" about the Web
         site's  future.  Levy: "We have momentum, and CBS picking up
         NFL is another big plus for us" (BUSINESS WEEK, 3/16).....On
         "The Sports Reporters," Mike Lupica defended Jim Nantz's
         Olympic performance: "Nantz got blamed for everything except
         El Nino.  I haven't seen such hateful reviews since Howard
         Cosell was in his prime" ("The Sports Reporters," 3/8). 
    
    
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, Kansas City Chiefs, NBC, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Media, Viacom
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