SBD/24/Sports Media

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              AT&T announced this morning "it is buying cable giant
         TCI in a stock deal worth $48 billion," according to ABC's
         Asha Blake on "Good Morning America."  Blake: "What's in it
         for AT&T?  The ability to bring local phone service and
         Internet access to 40 million TCI customers" ("Good Morning
         America," ABC, 6/24).  In DC, Farhi & Mills report that the
         agreement merges "the nation's largest long-distance phone
         company and its second-largest cable TV concern."  The deal
         will offer "one-stop shopping to consumers for virtually all
         electronic services: long-distance and cellular phone calls,
         cable TV and high-speed Internet access."  Farhi & Mills add
         that "some in Congress already are expressing concern about
         the deal" (Farhi & Mills, WASHINGTON POST, 6/24).  
              SPORTS INTEREST: TCI jointly owns Fox/Liberty Networks,
         which includes 22 RSNs reaching about 60 million homes, in a
         partnership with News Corp.  TCI also owns a portion of MSG,
         the Knicks and NHL Rangers.  DAILY VARIETY's Martin Peers
         calls the deal "highly complicated," but reports that it
         "only covers the cable systems" and excludes TCI's Liberty
         programming arm and the TCI Ventures investment arm.  TCI
         Chair John Malone will reportedly retain control of Liberty
         Media, "an important point for Hollywood players like USA
         Networks Chair Barry Diller and News Corp. Chair Rupert
         Murdoch, "who are in business with Malone through Liberty"
         (DAILY VARIETY, 6/24).  USA TODAY's Rosenbush, Maney &
         Lieberman report that AT&T is "expected to spin off" Liberty
         Media and that Malone is "expected to leave the AT&T-TCI
         fold and run Liberty and TCI Ventures" (USA TODAY, 6/24). 
         The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Leslie Cauley reports that "local
         business appears to be one of the most attractive angles for
         AT&T," although it will "maintain an alliance" with TCI's
         programming arm (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/24).

    Print | Tags: ABC, ATT, Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks, New York Liberty, New York Rangers, Media, Walt Disney

              Fox Sports Southwest (FSSW) "threatened to pull the
         plug on" Marcus Cable's broadcast of last night's Rangers-
         D'Backs game "because of a contract dispute," according to
         Mark Couch of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM.  FSSW had "yanked
         the game" from Marcus' lineup late in the day "because
         Marcus wouldn't sign a new contract" to carry FSSW's
         programming.  Marcus, the largest cable provider in Tarrant
         County, TX, ran a blue screen apologizing to its customers,
         and continued to run the apology even after FSSW reinstated
         the game.  The game was back on the air at about 8:30pm
         local time, right around the first pitch.  Marcus' deal
         expired in December, and it has been paying expired rates
         for Rangers games.  FSSW VP & GM Jon Heidtke: "There comes a
         certain point where you can't continue to offer that unfair
         advantage to them."  Marcus Cable COO Lou Borrelli: "Never
         in my wildest dreams did I imagine that they would use our
         customers as a bargaining chip."  Rangers VP/Media Relations
         John Blake said the dispute was between FSSW and Marcus: "We
         have nothing to do with it" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/24). 
         Heidtke said that after the game returned, "Negotiations
         picked up. ... We hope they are concluded without any
         additional interruption" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/24).

    Print | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Media

              RATINGS: Phillies TV ratings on WPHL-WB "have jumped"
         43%, from an average of 3.0 in '97, to a 4.3 this season.
         Comcast SportsNet's Phillies games are averaging a 2.3, up
         60% from what PRISM averaged this time in '97 (PHILADELPHIA
         DAILY NEWS, 6/24)....TNT, "boosted by a few highly watched
         NBA playoff games," ended '98's second-quarter as the most-
         watched cable network in prime time, according to Nielsen
         figures.  The net averaged 1,717,000 homes, followed by
         Nickelodeon, TBS and Lifetime (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/24).
              NOTES: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its 
         Indianapolis affil WRTV, ABC is allowing the station to
         broadcast the Brickyard 400 live for the first time on
         August 1.  Races held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are
         generally blacked out in the local market, so as not to
         affect ticket sales (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 6/24)....CBS
         Sports reached a two-year extension with the PBA to
         broadcast 10 Tour events in '99 and 2000.  The events will
         be broadcast in an hour-long format, and are a joint venture
         between CBS Sports, the PBA and The Marquee Group (CBS
         Sports)....Raycom Sports will produce and televise two AVP
         tournaments in August.  Both events will be regionally
         syndicated (Raycom Sports)....The NBA and WNBA reached new
         deals with DIRECTV and Primestar to distribute "NBA League
         Pass" and "WNBA Season Pass" subscription service (NBA). 

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, Comcast-Spectacor, DirecTV, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NBA, PBA, Philadelphia Phillies, Raycom Sports, Media, Turner Sports, Viacom, Walt Disney, WNBA
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