SBD/19/Sports Media

ESPN AND FOX TANGLE IN MARTZKE'S FORUM OVER RATING INCREASES

          Six months after ESPN's "SportsCenter" ratings
     "plummeted," ESPN Exec Editor John Walsh said that the show
     "now has a larger audience than last year at this time,"
     according to USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke.  The show's 1.23
     rating is up 7% from last year's 1.15, and "SportsCenter"
     ratings "have jumped" 29% from the 0.95 in '98's first
     quarter.  CNN's "Sports Tonight" has remained at 0.3, while
     FSN's "Fox Sports News" shows at 10:00pm and 11:00pm earn a 
     combined 0.9.  Walsh said that the 6:30pm ET "SportsCenter"
     is "beating Fox Sports News by five to six times."  Walsh:
     "What's real gratifying is that this tells us that Kenny
     Mayne and Dan Patrick (11pm anchors) have checked out well
     with the viewers.  To say that Kenny and Danny's shows rate
     higher than Dan and Keith Olbermann is pretty impressive." 
     Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Vince Wladika noted
     that FSN's rating has increased 50% in a year from 0.6 to
     0.9.  Wladika: "ESPN should be out-rating us.  They've been
     doing this for 19 years; us for two.  We're concerned with
     growing our Fox Sports News.  They have an unhealthy
     preoccupation with us.  We are flattered they are devoting
     this much attention to us" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 8/19).

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