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MALONE SAYS CABLE OPERATORS COULD SUE OVER ESPN RATE HIKES
Published June 2, 1998
TCI Chair John Malone said that "he's heard some cable operators -- not TCI -- may sue" if Disney tries to shift some of the costs of its $550M ABC Monday night package to ESPN's Sunday night telecasts, according to Bradley Johnson of AD AGE. ESPN is "hiking" its charges to cable operators to cover its $600M NFL deal, but a spokesperson for the net said "there will be no transfer of costs" (AD AGE, 6/1). ESPN WEST CARRIAGE IN JEOPARDY? In CA, Barbara Kingsley writes that with ESPN West set to launch in September, some cable companies "aren't sure they'll carry the new station" due to cost. Kingsley: "[I]t's fair to say that [the] new channel will cost big money ... as sports programming rights fees spiral ever-upward" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/1). ALL EARS: AD AGE's Chuck Ross reports that Disney is "in talks" to acquire "up to a" 40% stake in Excite Inc. The talks are part of Disney's Web strategy that would make all its Web sites, which include ESPN SportsZone, NFL.Com and NBA.Com, available through an "umbrella site," to be called "D Guide or Go Online" (AD AGE, 6/1). ESPN Internet Ventures VP/Marketing & Business Development Steve Kalin is profiled by Jeff Jensen of AD AGE. While the structure at Disney's new Buena Vista Internet Group has "yet to be finalized," Jensen wrote that Kalin "likely will focus" on new business development in the new setup (AD AGE, 6/1).