SBD/18/Sports Media

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              ABC, ESPN and Lifetime "reached a five-year contract
         Thursday with the International Skating Union [ISU] to
         televise major figure and speed skating events run by the
         sports' governing body," according to Stephen Battaglio of
         the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  ABC, ESPN, and Lifetime will carry
         60 hours of original programming per year beginning next
         fall.  Included are "all ISU Olympic-eligible figure skating
         events, such as the world championships and Grand Prix
         competitions."  The three nets, which will share 11 figure
         skating, five speed skating and four short-track events,
         will be able to "cross-promote events throughout the skating
         season."  Live, same-day turnaround and post-produced events
         will all be featured (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/18).  ESPN2 will
         also carry some events (Milton Kent, Baltimore SUN, 9/18). 

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

              ESPN has added games to its MLB schedule surrounding
         the HR and playoff races.  The Reds-Cubs game Sunday will
         air on ESPN at 2:00pm ET, with updates on the Cards-Brewers. 
         On Tuesday, ESPN will air either the Cubs-Brewers or Astros-
         Cards, with updates from the other.  Wednesday doubleheader
         lineups on ESPN and ESPN2 have yet to be determined.  Next
         Friday, ESPN will show either Cubs-Astros or Expos-Cards at
         8:00pm ET in a primetime special.  On September 27, the
         final day of the regular-season, ESPN2 will air either a
         playoff-determining game or a Cubs or Cards game (ESPN).  
              FIRST RATE: WGN-TV earned a 15.3/31 in Chicago for
         Monday's game in which Sammy Sosa hit his 61st and 62nd HRs
         of the season (THE DAILY).  Fox Sports Ohio's Indians-Twins
         game on Wednesday, in which the Indians clinched the AL
         Central title, was the second-highest-rated Indians game of
         the season, earning a 13 rating (Fox Sports Ohio). 

    Print | Tags: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, ESPN, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, MLB, Media, Walt Disney

              Sunday marks the 100th NFL game at Fox for the net's
         No. 1 broadcast team of Pat Summerall and John Madden, but
         USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke reports the pair will announce the
         Lions-Vikings game, which will be seen by only 15% of the
         U.S.  That is Fox's No. 3 game, behind Packers-Bengals
         (going to 44% of the U.S.) and Redskins-Seahawks (24%). 
         Summerall: "I guess I ought to be mad.  If our milestone
         game is seen by only 15% of the country, this isn't much of
         a milestone."  Madden: "If we're not on the 49ers-Packers
         game [November 1], then that'll be a story."  Martzke notes
         this is the second time in three weeks that the pair hasn't
         had the top audience, but next week, the two are set to do
         the Packers-Panthers, going to 73%.  Fox Exec Producer Ed
         Goren dismissed the "conspiracy" theory, adding, "This is
         the most ridiculous thing I've heard outside of Washington
         in the last five years" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 9/18).

    Print | Tags: Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Media, Vulcan Ventures, Washington Redskins

              DC's WRC-NBC made "its own Redskins quarterback switch
         this week, dropping Gus Frerotte" in favor of new starter
         Trent Green in the day-after-game slot on the Tuesday 6:00pm
         news, according to Leonard Shapiro of the WASHINGTON POST. 
         Though Frerotte is under contract with WRC for the season to
         appear with station Sports Dir George Michael and former
         'Skins QB Sonny Jurgensen, Shapiro reports that WRC "does
         have the option of inserting another guest in his place" if
         he is not the starter.  While the station pays Frerotte for
         his weekly appearances, if Green keeps the starting job,
         Michael said, "I would certainly expect we are not required
         to pay (Frerotte).  It's something we'll be talking about." 
         Michael wouldn't say what Frerotte was being paid, only that
         it "was much less than the $50,000-a-season figure reported
         last year."  Green appeared on the show Tuesday for free,
         but if he remains as the starter, Michael said he "would try
         to work out a financial arrangement with him to guarantee
         his appearance" (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 9/18).  

    Print | Tags: NBC, Media, Washington Redskins

              NO RATINGS: Final network ratings for last weekend's
         sports events were not available at press time (THE DAILY).
              NAMES: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes that "there's
         still movement within Turner Sports to hire Marv Albert as
         an NBA play-by-play man" (N.Y. POST, 9/18)....PGA Tour
         golfer Tom Lehman and his wife, Melissa, are in the British
         Virgin Islands this week "being photographed" for SI's
         swimsuit issue.  SI won't show Lehman "bare-chested," as he
         "insisted on wearing a loose-fitted shirt" (Charley Walters,
         ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/18)....On the 25th anniversary of
         the Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs tennis match, Destiny
         Productions' David Krieff "says he's arranged" for a Jimmy
         Connors-Steffi Graf match on December 12, which will air
         live on USA Network (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 9/18). 
              NFL: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley writes on ESPN's
         branding and ABC/ESPN's NFL cross-promos.  Wolfley: "This
         branding idea was a bad one.  It's kind of creepy, really. 
         It takes away the independent personalities of these shows
         and forces them into lockstep. ... Cross-promotion, branding
         obsession, has not made ESPN's and ABC's pro football shows
         any better.  In fact, there's evidence to suggest they have
         been made worse.  Or at least, they feel worse" (MILWAUKEE
         JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/18)....In S.F., Susan Slusser calls
         ABC's "Monday Night Blast" a "lame attempt to jump into the
         frenzied pregame fray."  Slusser: "'MNF' has adopted Fox
         tactics.  Loudness.  Tackiness.  Football for short
         attention spans.  Hey, that works for Fox.  On ABC, it's
         just dumb and annoying" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/18).

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, NBA, NFL, PGA Tour, Sports Illustrated, Media, Walt Disney

              Rupert Murdoch "is poised to team with" Telecom Italia,
         a private telecommunications group, to bid $2.2B for a six-
         year pay-TV contract for Italian soccer, according to Paul
         Betts of the FINANCIAL TIMES.  Although Telecom "is ready to
         sign the agreement," Betts writes that the deal "hinges on
         negotiations with RAI, the Italian state broadcasting
         network."  Telecom and RAI were in talks last night "to try
         to agree to a partnership to launch a pay-television
         platform" to compete against Italian pay-TV network Telepiu,
         which is controlled by France's Canal Plus.  The proposal
         includes the "creation of a joint holdings company" between
         Telecom and RAI, "which in turn would control a series of
         pay-TV networks."  Murdoch "would then invest in the planned
         soccer network" and bid for the rights (FIN. TIMES, 9/18).  

    Print | Tags: Media
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