SBD/18/Sports Media

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              ESPN said that ratings for its three-game coverage of
         the NHL Stanley Cup Finals dropped 57% from last year,
         according to Michael Starr of the N.Y. POST.  ESPN averaged
         a 2.6 rating, with 1.9 million viewers, compared to the 4.1,
         with 2.9 million viewers, it averaged for three games last
         year.  Fox earned a 3.3 rating for its coverage of Game One
         of the Finals, down from last year's 4.0 (N.Y. POST, 6/18).
              NO SEE-BC? CBC's Stanley Cup ratings, which "suffered
         throughout the playoffs, took an ever great hit during the
         finals."  Ratings for the first three Capitals-Red Wings
         games averaged 1.38 million viewers, down 34% from last
         year's finals average of 2.08 million.  CBC Sports Dir Alan
         Clark said he was not displeased with the numbers since no
         Canadian teams were featured (TORONTO STAR, 6/18).

    Print | Tags: CBC, Detroit Red Wings, ESPN, NHL, Media, Walt Disney, Washington Capitals

              Officials from Fox Sports Pittsburgh (FSP) and the
         Penguins announced yesterday that the two sides have reached
         a "binding, three-pronged agreement" in exchange for
         dropping their respective lawsuits, according to Chuck
         Finder of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  The deal calls for
         FSP to retain the team's broadcast rights through 2008-09. 
         In addition, the Penguins have pledged to pay $537,000
         "within a month in advertising fees owed to" FSP.  The
         dispute over $616,000 in cable subscriber fees "will be
         determined by both parties or, beyond that, an agreed-upon
         arbitrator."  Penguins co-Owners Roger Marino and Howard
         Baldwin are scheduled to meet with Fox officials today in
         L.A. to "hammer out possible changes" to the broadcasting
         agreement.  Finder reports that all lawsuits were dropped
         except a breach of contract one FSP filed against former
         station GM Bill Craig, who left the channel last September
         and joined the Penguins two months later as the team's Dir
         of Business Development (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/18).

    Print | Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins, Media

              KCAL has signed a new seven-year deal for local TV
         broadcast rights to the Lakers worth an "estimated" $140M,
         according to Cynthia Littleton of DAILY VARIETY.  Under
         terms of the deal, KCAL will control all production and ad
         sales for its telecasts of the team's 41 away games.  KCAL
         has controlled local Lakers rights for more than 20 years,
         and its previous deal with the team "was governed by a
         complex revenue-sharing formula."  However, the station is
         paying more under the new deal "in exchange for exclusive
         control of ad sales, sponsorship and promotional tie-ins." 
         Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed, but sources
         said that KCAL will pay "about" $20M a year in the deal,
         which begins in the '98-99 season and runs through 2004-05. 
         KCAL also carries the NHL Kings, Ducks, Angels and Clippers
         and is "planning to try out a few" WNBA broadcasts this
         summer.  Fox Sports West hold rights to the Lakers home
         games (DAILY VARIETY, 6/18).  KCAL also will receive rights
         to all Lakers' playoff games "not covered by" the NBA's
         network commitments (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/18)

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Media, Walt Disney, WNBA

              U.S. OPEN: NBC kicks off 16 hours of U.S. Open coverage
         from 3:00-5:00pm ET today, with two more hours tomorrow. 
         NBC has six hours of coverage on both Saturday and Sunday
         (Baltimore SUN, 6/18). In Boston, Howard Manly reports that
         Casey Martin "will command at least initial face-time from
         NBC" at the Open.  NBC analyst Roger Maltbie: "We'll
         definitely be covering Casey's opening tee shot today.  We
         feel it's a special occasion.  It's newsworthy and we want
         the viewing public to see it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/18).
              OTHER NOTES: In Baltimore, Milton Kent notes reports of
         CBS possibly airing a barnstorming tour of locked-out NBA
         players, and writes, "The prospect is delicious with irony." 
         After passing on the NFL, NBC officials "have been casting
         public and private doubts about CBS' ability to make money"
         on the deal, "while hinting at starting a new football
         league that might have NBA backing."  Now, CBS "may take the
         NBA players that NBC has made into stars and show them at a
         dramatically reduced cost, while NBC, which is obligated to
         pay the NBA even during a lockout, stews on the sideline"
         (Baltimore SUN, 6/18)....In Chicago, Fred Mitchell notes
         talk that ESPN's Bonnie Bernstein is "leaving" to join CBS
         Sports "to become the main reporter for NFL Today" (CHICAGO
         TRIBUNE, 6/18)....TBS announced plans to construct a $52M
         production facility on its Techwood Campus and to renovate
         its CNN Center, both in Atlanta (DAILY VARIETY, 6/18).

    Print | Tags: CBS, ESPN, NBA, NBC, NFL, Media, Turner Sports, Viacom, Walt Disney

              SportsLine USA "would appear to be in the catbird seat"
         as World Cup action attracts "as many as" 10 million hits a
         day to its Web site and its stock price is "holding its own
         after sinking sharply last month," according to Jay Sherman
         of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  However, although "the outlook
         looks bright," some execs "aren't satisfied and have
         launched an initiative designed to bring the SportsLine name
         beyond personal computer screens."  SportsLine USA 
         VP/Programming Ross Levinsohn said that he "envisions"
         expanding the brand "by rolling out TV-like content on the
         site, building a fan base and then making the leap to either
         TV or movies."  Levinsohn said that the company "is in
         talks" with a major studio to develop a TV program which
         would start on the Web and "eventually air on TV, provided
         it developed an audience online."  Although he declined to
         be more specific, he said he "would like" to have a show
         running by year-end or early next year.  SportsLine has been
         working with the William Morris Agency and "exploring" how
         to meld its "sports business with entertainment," and the
         company has set aside "its second-largest financial
         commitment yet to develop new content."  Levinsohn has been
         "scouring the creative communities" in Hollywood, N.Y. and
         London in search of "ideas that will work within the
         SportsLine framework" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/18).

    Print | Tags: Media
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