SBD/13/Sports Media

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              Michael Jordan's retirement from the NBA "will have
         sizable ramifications for the league, NBC and cable partner
         Turner," according to USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke.  The timing
         of Jordan's retirement "could not have come at a more
         inopportune time," as league officials "hoped" Jordan's
         participation "could soften fans' bitterness" over the six-
         month NBA lockout.  Nielsen ratings for Bulls games have
         rated 71% higher than other NBA telecasts.  Media buyer Paul
         Schulman: "The NBA's ratings will be down 10%, a huge hit. 
         They've not only lost Jordan but (also) the Chicago Bulls as
         their biggest draws."  Grey Advertising's Jon Mandel: "The
         worst job in the business now is (NBC Sports President of
         Sales) Keith Turner's.  How do you sell a 3 rating for
         $100,000 (a commercial)?"  But Martzke writes that NBA
         ratings on NBC "don't figure to dip as low" as 3.0 after
         last year's 4.8 (USA TODAY, 1/13).  NBC Sports Chair Dick
         Ebersol said he will be "surprised" if the Bulls are on NBC
         more than 5 or six times, "none of them nationally" (N.Y.
         TIMES, 1/13).  Ebersol: "While no single player can replace
         the transcendent athlete of this decade, it will be exciting
         to see what players and what 'super teams' step into the
         stoplight for the fans to embrace" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/13). 
         DAILY VARIETY's John Dempsey writes that NBC and Turner
         "could suffer dramatic erosion in viewership."  A source
         said "the only way" the two networks could "approximate"
         last year's ratings is if free agents Scottie Pippen and
         Dennis Rodman re-sign with the Bulls (VARIETY, 1/13). 
               MONEY MAN: In Toronto, Bulls games on TSN were "double
         the average" of other NBA games, and Game 6 of last season's
         NBA Eastern Conference Finals gave CTV a "record" 1 million
         viewers.  CTV Sports VP Scott Moore, on Jordan: "He's helped
         make us a lot of money over the years" (TORONTO STAR, 1/13).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBC, Media

              ESPN unveiled plans for its "SportsCentury" program
         yesterday in N.Y., including its list of the 51-100 greatest
         North American athletes of the past century.  The top 50
         will be counted down through weekly "SportsCentury"
         programs, airing on Fridays, beginning January 22 at 8:00pm
         ET, with a special hour-long culmination episode on the top
         two athletes airing on ABC December 26 (ESPN).  USA TODAY's
         Michael Hiestand calls it ESPN's "biggest project ever." 
         The program will consist of 60 hours of footage and draw on
         about 1,000 interviews, 150,000 photos, "and rarely seen old
         footage."  Hiestand adds that ESPN will "send its own
         announcers into the past" as some "SportsCenter" anchors
         will "temporarily" alter their on-air look to "suggest" how
         "SportsCenter" might have looked (USA TODAY, 1/13).  

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

              In N.Y., WWOR-XX's Russ Salzberg was "forced" to cut
         short an interview with Mike Tyson when Tyson "launched into
         a series of X-rated answers that had to be bleeped out." 
         When asked why he insisted on swearing, Tyson told Salzberg, 
         "I'm talking to you the way I want to talk to you."  Tyson
         then cursed Salzberg for ending the interview (N.Y. POST,
         1/13)....In Toronto, Josh Rubin writes that "will be
         coming under increased scrutiny" as a bridge to bring fans
         back after the lockout.  The site plans to offer more stat
         categories and an expanded history section. Dir
         Stefanie Scheer says there are no plans to make online radio
         coverage of NBA games available for free.  But there are
         plans to make a free game accessible every night, while last
         year there were three free games a week (TOR. STAR, 1/13).
         ...Sport Magazine said it has increased its rate base 33% to
         1 million for the first quarter of '99. New advertisers in
         the title are Absolut, Gillete, And 1, Reebok, Coca-Cola,
         Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix (Sport).

    Print | Tags: And 1, Coca-Cola, General Motors, NBA, Reebok, Media

              In England, the Office of Fair Trading Dir General John
         Bridgeman is "insisting" that Premier League soccer teams
         negotiate TV deals individually rather than collectively as
         a league, according to John Mason of the FINANCIAL TIMES. 
         The Premiere League, along with the BBC and Sky TV, are
         opposing any changes to the regulations and has taken the
         issue before the Restrictive Practices Court.  The league,
         whose teams receive US$1.2B from the BBC and Sky for TV
         rights, argue that the rule would "damage the commercial
         prospects of all but the top football clubs" and would put
         broadcasting companies in "an unacceptably powerful
         position."  The OFT believes the rule would "give more
         broadcasters" the right to "buy soccer rights and increase
         consumer choice" with more soccer on TV.  The hearing is
         expected to last about three months (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/13) 

    Print | Tags: English Premier League, Media
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