SBD/7/Sports Media

DESPITE BOFFO AD $$, SPORTS WEB SITES STILL FACE HURDLES

          Ad revenue for CBS SportsLine last year "soared well
     beyond the industry average of 157%, climbing 475%," while
     Disney's ESPN SportsZone's jumped 36% to $9M in '97,
     according to David Sweet of the WALL STREET JOURNAL, who
     cites InterWatch, a publication of InterMedia Advertising
     Solutions.  The two sites "are drawing increased revenue
     from subscribers to premium areas and electronic-commerce,
     but they are heavily dependent on ad money," and in an
     economic downturn, advertisers "are likely to slash Internet
     advertising first because the young medium is less
     entrenched."  Times Mirror Interzines President Mike
     Dubester estimates that advertising "contributes 75% of the
     division's Web site revenue."  Shelley Morrison, VP/
     Advertising for Buena Vista Internet Group, which runs
     ESPN's site, along with the NBA, NFL and NASCAR sites,
     estimates that 40% of the sites' revenue comes from
     sponsorships.  PricewaterhouseCoopers Dir of New Media Peter
     Petrusky said that sports sites captured 5% of a Internet
     advertising in '97's fourth quarter.  In the first quarter
     of '98, they brought in 8% of the $351M spent on ads.  But
     Sweet adds that "next year could be challenging for sports
     sites," as there no events such as the Olympics "that
     capture attention world-wide" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/7). 

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