SBD/13/Sports Media

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              The NTRA reached an agreement in principle with ABC
         Sports for an expanded package of Triple Crown prep races
         for '99 and 2000.  NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith said the deal
         offers four new shows and an expanded fifth show leading up
         to the Visa Triple Crown Challenge.  The deal marks an
         increase of two and a half hours from ABC's '98 coverage. 
         The deal was handled by The Marquee Group's SMTI (NTRA).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Media, Visa, Walt Disney

              Following CBS's cancelation of "Public Eye With Bryant
         Gumbel," the N.Y. POST's Michael Starr speculates on
         Gumbel's future with the net and writes, "it isn't lost on
         CBS and its sports division that Gumbel has a strong sports
         background."  Gumbel signed a five-year deal worth about $7M
         per year with CBS last year, and with CBS set to begin its
         new NFL deal, Gumbel's knowledge "could come in handy as
         either a Sunday studio analyst or play-by-play man with his
         brother, Greg Gumbel."  But one "insider" told Starr, "He's
         adamant about not going back to sports full-time."  Pilson
         Communications President Neal Pilson said that Gumbel "is
         unlikely to assume a high-profile sports role at CBS." 
         Pilson: "CBS is well-served with Jim Nantz in the anchor
         role on 'NFL Today,' and although that's a role Bryant
         played years ago at NBC I don't envision him having an
         important sports role at CBS" (N.Y. POST, 8/13).

    Print | Tags: CBS, NBC, NFL, Media, Viacom

              In CA, Greg Hardesty reported that after Petersen
         Companies' acquisition of Surfer Publications, about 15
         Surfer employees in the accounting and circulation
         departments -- about 25% of the company -- "lost their jobs"
         (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/12)...."Fox Sports News
         Primetime" drew its best rating ever on Fox Sports SW
         Tuesday following the Astros-Brewers game, earning a 5.4. 
         With cable penetration in Houston at 56%, that translates
         into a 9.6 cable rating, and was the second-highest rated
         show on basic cable (FSSW)....In L.A., Scott Moe reviewed
         "Six Times As Sweet," a new book on the Bulls by NBA Exec
         Editor Publishing Ventures Jan Hubbard.  Moe called it "nice
         to look at with plenty of quality photos ... [But] an
         insightful book full of information that the mainstream
         doesn't know?  No way" (L.A. TIMES, 8/12)....PA-based
         Comcast cable exercised an option to purchase control of CO-
         based Jones Intercable, the largest cable operator in the DC
         area, for $700M (WASHINGTON POST, 8/13).
              PERSONALITIES: Blues VP/Dir of Ticket Sales Bruce
         Affleck was named the team's new analyst on Fox Sports
         Midwest (FSM).  Affleck, on his two positions being a
         conflict of interest: "In order to have any credibility you
         have to be honest. ... If anything, I'll get flak from my
         (Blues) bosses for being too critical" (ST. LOUIS POST-
         DISPATCH, 8/13)....The Lightning will not offer a new
         contract to radio voice Larry Hirsch, who had called the
         team's games since its inception in '92 (Lightning).
              ONLINE: In Ft. Worth, Tommy Cummings profiled Athlete
         Direct (AD), which provides athlete sites on AOL.  AD
         President Ross Schaufelberger: "We view ourselves as the
         primary company for athlete-oriented content. ... It's a
         medium where the athletes can stay in touch with the fans"
         (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/10) received
         120,000 page impressions, which translates into about 40,000
         users, on Tuesday (CINCINNATI POST, 8/12). 

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, Comcast-Spectacor, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, NBA, Media, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning

              THE ECONOMIST profiles Fox Sports Net and its "clever"
         regional approach to sports TV and writes that it "is
         beginning to inflict some nasty wounds on Disney's ESPN,
         which has dominated American sports programming for nearly
         20 years."  But it notes that ESPN "is not about to drift
         into financial difficulty.  As cable TV goes digital, there
         will be more space for more sports networks, and there is
         probably still demand for more sports.  ESPN has a
         stunningly successful brand, and Disney's master-marketers
         are thinking up ways to use it. ... Still, [News Corp.'s
         Rupert] Murdoch and [Liberty Media's John] Malone look like
         [they will make] a lot of money out of Fox Sports Net --
         money that would, if ESPN had seized its opportunity, have
         been Disney's" (THE ECONOMIST, 8/8 issue).
              WILL FOX PASS? In Dallas, Barry Horn writes that if
         Disney's NHL TV rights bid "is such a bad deal, how come Fox
         and its own cable brethren are thinking about making their
         own inflated bid?  One thing is certain: whoever gets the
         NHL won't lose as much money on that deal as the networks
         will on the" $17.6B NFL TV deal (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/13).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, New York Liberty, NFL, NHL, Media, Walt Disney
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