SBD/5/Sports Media

MEDIA NOTES

          ESPN: Responding to a Hollywood Reporter story that
     showed a decline in ratings for ESPN and "SportsCenter,"
     while noting an increase in ratings for "Fox Sports News,"
     ESPN's Mike Soltys said, "Nielsen research for the February
     sweeps in 39 major markets shows that Fox's rating went
     down, not up. SportsCenter delivers eight times the audience
     of Fox Sports News" (USA TODAY, 6/5).  As for ESPN's ratings
     dip, Soltys pointed to fragmentation throughout the TV
     sports audience, adding that "a lot of our fragmentation is
     partially internal," with viewers shifting to ESPN2, ESPNews
     or Classic Sports Network (THE DAILY)....ESPN's Stuart Scott
     signed a multi-year contract extension (HARTFORD COURANT,
     6/5)....Excite Inc. said it has reached a deal with Disney
     to provide access to some Disney Web sites, including ESPN
     SportsZone and ABC.com (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/5).
          THE THREE AMIGOS ON NBC: In Boston, Howard Manly writes
     that NBC's NBA crew "is not perfect," but Bob Costas, Isiah
     Thomas and Doug Collins "are right just a little more than
     they are wrong" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/5). In L.A., Larry Stewart
     writes that without Doug Collins, NBC "would be saddled with
     the possibly the worst announcing team on an NBA finals
     since the CBS days of Brent Musburger and Tommy Heinsohn." 
     He says Collins "might be the best basketball commentator
     since Rick Barry" (L.A. TIMES, 6/5)....The distant
     relationship between N.Y. Post columnist/NBC analyst Peter
     Vecsey and his brother, N.Y. Times columnist George Vecsey,
     is profiled by SI's S.L. Price.  Jazz President Frank
     Layden, on Peter's influence in NBA circles: "I see it in
     our people: They're afraid of him.  Even people in the
     league -- higher up -- are afraid of him."  NBC's Bob Costas
     says Peter "carries grudges, he exacts his revenge.  Get on
     his s---list, and you stay there for a long time" (SI, 6/8).
          NOTES: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports that
     Saturday's Evander Holyfield-Henry Akinwande SET PPV fight
     will use a camera mounted 25 to 35 feet above the ring.  The
     camera will follow fighters in their ring walks and to "peer
     at them" between rounds (N.Y. TIMES, 6/5)....In N.Y., Allen
     Barra reviewed "The Commissioners," the new book by Chicago
     Tribune columnist Jerome Holtzman and published by Total
     Sports.  Barra writes that the book about MLB's leaders "is
     a mostly sad and comic chronicle about men who were hired
     under personal services contracts by the owners and almost
     immediately fell under the delusion that they represented
     the fans and the players as well" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/31).
                
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