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              Due to the return of the NFL to CBS, the U.S. Open
         women's final will move from Sunday to Saturday, taking
         place between the men's semifinals, according to Langdon
         Brockinton of MEDIAWEEK.  The women's final will not take
         place before 1:30pm ET.  CBS will air the men's final on
         Sunday following early NFL games.  Brockinton also reports
         that USA Network, which has cable rights to the Open, "will
         pick up the whole first Sunday of the tournament," airing
         matches from noon to 6:00pm while CBS carries the NFL's
         opening day games.  With the added Sunday coverage, USA will
         broadcast 94 hours of Open coverage.  Brockinton says the
         move is "not a welcome development" for the Corel WTA Tour
         which "had lobbied for years" to move the women's final to
         Sunday, giving it equal billing to the men.  Asked to
         comment on the switch back to Saturday, a WTA Tour rep said,
         "There is nothing to comment on."  Brockinton writes that
         the "resurrection of Super Saturday could help boost the
         network's lagging Open ratings" (MEDIAWEEK, 4/13 issue).
              TENNIS NOTES: Brockinton adds that USA Network VP/Ad
         Sales John Cronopulos said that the net has sold "about" 55%
         of its commercial inventory for its French Open coverage. 
         Deals have been cut with MCI, Ralston Purina, New Balance,
         Johnson & Johnson and Benckiser (MEDIAWEEK, 4/13 issue).
         ...Fox Sports reached a two-year deal to broadcast the
         final-round of the WTA Tour's Toshiba Tennis Classic in San
         Diego.  It marks the first time Fox has broadcast a women's
         pro tennis event and the WTA Tour will now have events on
         all four major U.S. TV networks in the same year (WTA Tour).

    Print | Tags: CBS, NFL, Media, Viacom

              The nation's big cable operators "are balking" at
         ESPN's plan to raise rates 20% "or more" annually through
         the year 2006, and people familiar with the matter say it
         "could more than quadruple the cost" of the network to
         operators, according to Leslie Cauley of the WALL STREET
         JOURNAL.  ESPN's proposal is "causing howls" within the
         cable-TV industry, "which will have to decide whether to
         pass the new costs along to customers ... or to absorb them
         in their own right," and some cable execs have called the
         move "blatant price-gouging."  The companies say the plan,
         compounded over nine years, "could push the cost of ESPN to
         well over the $4-a-subscriber mark."  In addition, several
         cable execs said that smaller cable companies "have been
         informed" by ESPN that their rates "could jump as much as"
         40% in the coming years.  Cauley reports that to date, "only
         a few big operators have signed up for ESPN's 2006 plan,
         fearing they will face even higher fees later."  ESPN Exec
         VP/Sales George Bodenheimer declined to discuss the matter, 
         but said that it "hasn't set its rates beyond next summer." 
         He "declined to rule out" the possibility that ESPN's rates
         "could exceed" $4 "over the long haul" (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
         4/15).  ESPN spokesperson Mike Soltys said the net effect of
         the new plan on operators "will be only a few cents" per
         subscriber.  He added that local affils can make up the cost
         with the 46 additional 30-second commercials that ESPN is
         adding to its NFL inventory (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 4/15).

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

              In Oakland, Tony Kuttner examined the speed with which
         sports Web sites are able to update real-time baseball
         action.  Kuttner: "And the winner is ... not that clear cut.
         ... It's easier to say which ones are losing than it is to
         pick a winner."  Kuttner wrote that Nandonet, USA Today and
         The Sporting News sites are "in the back of the pack for
         being too slow," while Fox and CNN/SI fall "[s]omewhere in
         the middle," and CBS SportsLine and ESPN SportsZone are the
         "fastest" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 4/14)....USA Today's Baseball
         Weekly hit a circulation record of 422,881 with its March 25
         Season Preview edition.  That figure represents an 18.7%
         increase from the '97 preview issue, which sold 356,258
         copies (Baseball Weekly)....For its coverage of MLS
         Revolution road games, WEEI-AM in Boston will pick up the
         audio feed from the TV broadcast on Fox Sports New England,
         simulcasting the call of announcers Derek Rae and Seamus
         Malin.  Dale Arnold and Adrian Healey will continue to call
         home games (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/14)....A Citizens Action
         Committee in NJ will stage a protest this Sunday at its
         local Adelphia Cable office because the company has refused
         to add Comcast SportsNet to its basic package.  Adelphia,
         which serves 100,000 area subscribers, has balked at the
         cost of adding SportsNet (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/14). 

    Print | Tags: Comcast-Spectacor, ESPN, MLS, New England Revolution, Sports Illustrated, Media, Vulcan Ventures, Walt Disney

              NC-based Total Sports has agreed to acquire an equity
         position in  Under terms of the deal, Total Sports
         becomes an operational partner in the Web site, which is
         comprised of a consortium that includes NBC Sports, NBC
         Interactive Media, MediaOne Interactive Services, Golf
         Digest and The New York Times Magazine Group.  Total Sports
         will be in charge of technology, sales, business development
         and the hosting of, and will assist in a redesign
         of the site.  In addition, Total Sports will integrate its
         proprietary cybercast technology into the site, particularly
         as it relates to NBC-televised events (Total Sports).

    Print | Tags: NBC, Media

              Michelle Kwan has signed an exclusive four-year deal
         with Walt Disney Network TV to star in several ice skating
         specials on ABC, according to Eric Olson of DAILY VARIETY. 
         As part of the deal, Kwan "may only appear in ice skating
         specials on Disney and ABC."  Four shows are planned for
         primetime airing "over the next four years."  Disney Senior
         VP Paul Villadolid called the pact "the most comprehensive"
         TV deal ever signed with a figure skater (VARIETY, 4/15).  

    Print | Tags: ABC, Media, Walt Disney
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