SBD/3/Events Attractions

GOODWILL GAMES END WITH JUDGES DIVIDED ON ITS PERFORMANCE

          The Goodwill Games concluded last night, and "by most
     standards" they were "a success," according to Frank Litsky
     of the N.Y. TIMES, who writes that the competition
     "generally ranged from good to excellent," the athletes were
     "happy," and although there "were many empty seats," the
     crowds "were often enthusiastic."  Litsky writes that this
     year's event "lost money," but "not as much" as the first
     three Games, which lost a combined $109M.  Games President
     Mike Plant: "We always use the word investment.  We provide
     an opportunity for world-class athletes to compete" (N.Y.
     TIMES, 8/4).  On L.I., John Jeansonne writes that the Games
     "were run at the highest level of competence," adding that
     the event "accomplished [its] primary goal, which was to
     provide 45 hours of live programming" for Turner Sports and
     "heavy synergy" for the Time Warner communications empire. 
     Attendance "was small," with no sellouts.  The biggest
     single-event gate was 11,307 for the women's gold-medal
     soccer game, followed by 10,558 for Saturday night's figure
     skating final.  Jeansonne reports that although
     "conventional wisdom" is that low ticket sales indicate
     "nobody cared," Plant pointed out that the event's "first
     priority was TV programming" (NEWSDAY, 8/3).  Plant said
     that "several" sponsors have already inquired about
     renewals, "which is a big first for these Games."  Final
     ratings for the Games are expected to average "about" 1.7,
     and Turner Sports VP/Public Relations Greg Hughes said those
     numbers are comparable to the net's average rating for
     Braves telecasts, adding "for 15 nights, three hours a
     night, it's a solid performance" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/4). 
     Games officials' "stated goal" of selling 400,000 tickets
     "was not met," according to Plant, who said that the final
     figure "should be in the 350,000 range" (Bergen RECORD,8/2).
          REAX: Media opinion varied as to the relative success
     of the Games.  On L.I., Ken Moritsugu wrote that while the
     economic benefit "was limited at best" for local businesses,
     Long Island sports boosters called the event a success
     because it put them in a position "to attract future
     competitions by showcasing the local athletic venues" and by 
     demonstrating that the area can host a "mega-event without
     major glitches."  Moritsugu reported, however, that some
     L.I. officials "were disappointed" by the "lack of local
     excitement" over the Games, and pointed out that "empty
     seats were common" at skating and track events.  Some felt
     that Turner didn't do enough local promotion for the Games,
     and Nassau County Sports Commission Chair Gary Wadler called
     the event "one of the best-kept secrets" (NEWSDAY, 8/3).  In
     N.Y., Lenn Robbins writes under the header "Take These Games
     And Shove 'Em."  Noting that Plant called the N.Y. market a
     "challenging" one in which to hold the Games, Robbins
     writes, "So why was New York chosen in the first place to
     host these games?  If Plant & Co. aren't naive they are
     foolish. ... Good riddance" (N.Y. POST, 8/3).  In NJ, Pat
     Borzi reports that the Games "started off moderately
     interesting, [but] then faded."  Borzi: "Speed sells, and
     the Games didn't have enough" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/3). 
     Also in NJ, Steve Adamek wrote that on the NY metro radar
     screen, "these games barely made a blip" (RECORD, 8/2).
          GOODWILL NOTING: Plant "confirmed" that Games officials
     are "close" to finalizing plans to stage a Winter Goodwill
     Games in Lake Placid, NY, in 2000 (NEWSDAY, 8/2)....Saturday
     night, Games officials "charged just" $5 to sit in Nassau
     Coliseum's upper deck for the figure skating finals.  The
     seats had been going for $28.  After "less than" 6,000
     attended the first three nights of competition, Saturday
     night drew a crowd of 10,558 (Bergen RECORD, 8/2). ...This
     weekend's Games on CBS and TBS used Symah Vision Inc.'s
     EPSIS Boards virtual signage technology during beach
     volleyball, when ads for Turner nets including CNN, CNN/SI
     and TNT appeared.  It marked the Games' first use of virtual
     ads (THE DAILY)....Plant, on whether he was concerned that
     paralyzed Chinese gymnast Sang Lan's parents would sue: "I
     have no feeling that that ever would be a concern.  But,
     yes, we can cover whatever is out there.  We have more
     insurance than I've ever seen" (NEWSDAY, 8/2). ...Nassau
     County expects "at least" $2.5M in sales tax revenue, a
     "small fraction" of the County's annual sales tax revenues,
     which are usually in excess of $700M (NEWSDAY, 8/2).

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