SBD/14/Sports Media

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              Marv Albert's agent Evan Bell said that his client "is
         in 'serious' negotiations for at least four play-by-play and
         sports-anchor jobs," according to Laura Italiano of the N.Y.
         POST.  One of those jobs is an anchor position on MSG
         Network's "SportsDesk," while the other three involved
         basketball play-by-play.  Bell: "We're concentrating on
         basketball right now and talking to three separate entities. 
         It could be working for a team.  It could be a cable or
         over-the-air network.  But nothing will be finalized until
         after the [NBA] playoffs."  MSG execs declined comment. 
         Italiano added that "insiders" said MSG is "conducting
         market surveys to prove to advertisers that Albert's return
         would be welcomed by audiences" (N.Y. POST, 4/12).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, NBA, Media

              CBS's coverage of Sunday's final round of The Masters
         earned a 9.9/26 rating, making it the fourth-highest final
         round ever, and the second-highest this decade.  Saturday's
         third round coverage scored a 6.9/19, the second-highest
         Saturday rating ever for the event.  CBS's coverage of The
         Masters won every half-hour on both days (CBS).  Sunday's
         rating was down 37% from last year's 15.8/32, which was the
         highest ever (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/14).  CBS's two-day average
         of 8.6, although down 33% from '97, was the second-highest
         rating for The Masters since '86 (USA TODAY, 4/14).
              REVIEWS & REAX: CBS is receiving generally positive
         reviews for its coverage.  In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes that
         the tournament "provided incredible drama.  And CBS coverage
         captured every ounce of it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/14).  In
         Toronto, Rob Longley called CBS's new strategy of "having
         [Ken] Venturi carry most of the analysis, interacting with
         the respective announcers on each hole ... a stroke of
         genius."  Longley: "Mercifully, CBS eased up on its tendency
         to over-hype Tiger Woods" (TORONTO SUN, 4/13).  In Detroit,
         Steve Crowe wrote on the coverage under the header, "CBS
         Makes The Right Call Staying Out Of The Woods" (DETROIT FREE
         PRESS, 4/13).  But in N.Y., Richard Sandomir cites CBS's
         sparse coverage of Woods on Sunday and writes, "No wonder
         Sunday's ... rating fell" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/14).
              ACROSS THE USA: USA Network's second round coverage of
         The Masters on Friday got a 3.9 rating, which USA states
         makes it the most watched live golf event in the history of
         cable TV.  The net broke its own record of 3.6, set for last
         year's second round coverage of The Masters.  Thursday's
         coverage earned a 3.1, the highest first round rating ever.
         The two-day average of 3.5 was up 17% over '97 (USA).

    Print | Tags: CBS, Media, Viacom

              In an effort to offset its new $4.8B NFL deal, ESPN is
         "pushing cable operators to pay up to 20% more money in
         license fees" starting August 1, according to John Dempsey
         of DAILY VARIETY.  Cable system execs say they're being
         asked to pay increases that "could funnel as much as" $156M
         in additional revenues to ESPN, which would "go on top of"
         the $536.9M that ESPN "harvested" from cable-operator
         license fees in '97.  Also, according to sources, ESPN has
         told cable operators that "if they sign new contracts by
         June 1, they'll get a break in pricing," and that the break
         will be "extended if the cable system gets" ESPN into more
         than 95% of its households.  However, one cable operator
         said that "even with those price breaks," the fee increase
         "will propel his total bill to ESPN to more than $1 a month,
         making it by far the most expensive nationally distributed
         service for most cable operators" (DAILY VARIETY, 4/14).
              E-SPIN: ESPN announced late last week that it will
         provide 46 additional local 30-second spots to its affils in
         its 18-game NFL Sunday night package.  The total number of
         ads will increase 10% from 459 in '97 to 505 in '98.  ESPN
         will also increase local spots by 26% on all studio and NFL-
         related programming, including "NFL Primetime" (ESPN).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, NFL, Media, Walt Disney

              ESPN will air a two-hour "SportsCenter" special, "Race
         & Sports: Running In Place?," tonight beginning at 7:30pm
         ET.  The special will begin with a 30-minute "Outside The
         Lines" segment focusing on race and sports, which will be
         followed by a 90-minute Town Meeting discussion on the
         issue, hosted by Bob Ley (ESPN).  ESPN SportsZone will offer
         its first live video Webcast for the Town Meeting tonight at
         8:00pm ET.  The two-day package will link off the SportsZone
         front page and offer related feature stories, user polls and
         an opportunity for users to send in questions to panelists
         during the broadcast (ESPN SportsZone).
              THE FULL ROSTER: President Clinton will be a member of
         the panel at the Town Meeting, to be held in Houston's
         Cullen Theater.  Clinton will be joined by Padres Owner John
         Moores, former Browns RB Jim Brown, Georgetown Univ.
         basketball coach John Thompson, Olympic gold medalist
         Jackie-Joyner Kersee, Vikings coach Dennis Green, Univ. of
         GA AD Vince Dooley, 49ers President Carmen Policy, and ESPN
         baseball analyst Joe Morgan.  In Houston, David Barron wrote
         that ESPN is distributing the tickets to the event, and is
         also "in charge of screening the 14 to 16 audience members
         who will be allowed to ask questions."  Ley, on a possible
         White House influence at the forum: "This is our show. 
         While the White House is providing the President, and we are
         grateful for that, this is an ESPN show from start to
         finish" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/9).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent
         writes that Clinton's presence "is a bit of an X factor for
         the program, because no one knows what he will bring to the
         discussion."  Kent also reports that Jets WR Keyshawn
         Johnson and NBA prospect Felipe Lopez have been added to the
         panel "as the only current athletes" (Baltimore SUN, 4/14).
              LEFT OUT? In N.Y., Kathy Kiely reports that Latino
         activists said tonight's event "slights Latin Americans"
         because Lopez is the only Hispanic on the panel.  Deputy
         White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said that ESPN "had
         sent out invitations to about two dozen Hispanic athletes,
         who declined for various reasons" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/14).

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Browns, ESPN, Minnesota Vikings, NBA, New York Jets, San Diego Padres, San Francisco 49ers, Media, Walt Disney

              NOTES: Former 49ers coach George Seifert "is expected
         to land a job at CBS, perhaps as early as tomorrow." 
         Seifert said that he "isn't sure" whether he is being
         considered for a studio position or as a game analyst (S.F.
         CHRONICLE, 4/14)....NBC Sports VP/Communications Ed Markey
         said that the net "erred" by leaving Sunday's Knicks-Heat
         game without showing a replay of its controversial ending. 
         Markey: "It was probably a mistake" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/14).
         ...THE DAILY RACING FORM's Steve Haskin, on Fox's April 4
         broadcast of the Santa Anita Derby, its first foray into
         racing coverage: "This was a flawless telecast that left us
         yearning for more" (DAILY RACING FORM, 4/7)....Turner Sports
         has re-signed Bob Neal to a new multiyear contract.  Neal
         will continue to call NBA games on TBS and TNT through the
         2001-2002 season (Turner Sports).  USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke
         wrote Neal's new deal is worth "close to" $500,000 annually
         (USA TODAY, 4/10)....N.Y. Times Magazines took out a full
         page ad in Monday's N.Y. Times touting its three golf
         titles, GolfWorld, Golf Digest and Golf Shop Operations. 
         The ad text noted that the three won 14 Golf Writers
         Association of America Awards (THE DAILY)....Mets announcer
         Ralph Kiner is taking an extended leave of absence due to
         his wife's battle with cancer and his recent health
         problems.  Kiner said his return date is "wide open" and
         that the Mets said he could take the entire season off, if
         necessary (Bergen RECORD, 4/10).
              RATINGS: See (#32) for a full listing of overnights
         from this weekend's network sports events.  In S.D., Fritz
         Quindt wrote that the Padres' March 31 season opener on
         Padres/Channel 4 got a 3.4 rating, while last Tuesday's home
         opener earned a 6.9.  Wednesday's first prime-time game did
         a 9.3, which placed second locally during its time slot
         (UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/10)....In Boston, Howard Manly writes that
         WABU's coverage of Friday's Red Sox opener received a 6.9/17
         rating, while Saturday's Sox game got a "whopping" 9.2/31,
         and Sunday's an 8.1/31 (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/14). 
              NHL: In N.Y. Richard Sandomir notes that Saturday's Fox
         NHL coverage pulled a "wee" 1.5 overnight, including a
         "microscopic" 0.8 rating in the New York market.  Through
         nine dates this season, Fox's NHL coverage is averaging a
         1.5.  Fox Sports President David Hill: "We don't know what's
         wrong, but we still believe in hockey" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/14).
         The NHL wants Fox to move its telecasts to Sunday afternoons
         next season, the final year of the net's five-year, $155M
         deal.  Fox's Dan Bell said that "nothing has been decided,"
         but talks "are ongoing" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/11).  

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, Cablevision, CBS, Miami Heat, NBA, NBC, New York Knicks, New York Mets, NHL, San Diego Padres, San Francisco 49ers, Media, Turner Sports, Viacom
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