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TBS and Time Warner will begin a $40-50M "media blitz" this week for the Goodwill Games, according to Jim Cooper of MEDIAWEEK. Cooper: "But even before the first runner hits the track, Time Warner knows it will again lose money on the Games -- this time about $10-20M, a smaller loss than four years ago." The Games have sold out its 16 sponsorship slots, and the "major sponsor deals will make up about" 70% of the Games' ad revenue, "which is expected to total" $50M. Additional revenue from overseas business and ticket sales is "expected to narrow the overall loss" to $10-20M, based on $100M in expenses. Cooper reports that media buyers have "mixed opinions about both the importance and viability of the event." One "major" sports buyer: "It's not a priority for people to watch, and it's not a priority to buy. I bet if you went out on the street and asked about 10 New Yorkers what they were, eight wouldn't know" (MEDIAWEEK, 6/22). MEDIA LINEUP: TBS's track and field announcer lineup for the Goodwill Games will include former Olympians Carol Lewis, Marty Liqouri, Mike Powell and Dwight Stones, along with Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson and Craig Sager (TBS).
In Boston, Frank Dell'Apa reports that U.S. Soccer coach Steve Sampson "will soon be gone," and whoever takes his place "must move the team in a different direction." Dell'Apa: "The lesson driven home in this World Cup is that soccer is not a nice sport. ... There is no place for amateurs and volunteers" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/24). In DC, Amy Shipley reports that "dissatisfaction with the strategy and decision-making" employed by Sampson "surfaced today" in the U.S. camp, and that the "discontent may erupt" following Thursday's game versus Yugoslavia when some players "plan to voice their displeasures about a variety of Sampson's decisions." Alexi Lalas: "Everybody's ready to explode. You can get ready for it" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/24). NOTES: In Toronto, William Houston reports that despite a decline in U.S. ratings, World Cup TV ratings in Canada are up about 30% from '94. TSN has averaged 340,000 viewers for the first eight matches, an increase of almost 100,000 a match from the first round of '94 (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/24). ...In L.A., Scott Moe reviewed the official World Cup Web site, www.france98.com, saying that it "is loaded with everything a soccer World Cup fan would ever need to know." Moe: "This site is headers and shoulders above any other offering World Cup coverage" (L.A. TIMES, 6/23). LAUGH TRACK: NBC's Jay Leno: "Do you folks know the three different stages of sleep? First there's R.E.M., I guess that's when you dream. ... Alpha sleep is where you sleep really deep. And then the final stage -- World Cup soccer sleep" ("Tonight Show," 6/23). David Letterman: "Boy, I want to tell you something, ladies and gentlemen, we're all very excited, all very proud here at CBS. We now have the exclusive broadcast rights for Iranian soccer." More Letterman: "I'm very excited. And talk about luck -- I own Kodadad Azizi's rookie card. I knew that wouldn't do anything, I just like saying Kodadad Azizi" (CBS, 6/23).