SBD/12/Sports Media

MOUTH OF MADNESS: CBS TOURNEY COVERAGE RECEIVES HIGH PRAISE

          CBS Sports' presentation of the opening day of the NCAA
     men's basketball tournament "was smooth and seamless,"
     according to Howard Manly of the BOSTON GLOBE, writing under
     the header "CBS Manages To Push The Right Buttons" (BOSTON
     GLOBE, 3/12).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes that CBS
     "seemed to get off to a good start editorially yesterday,"
     as it "is to be commended for its coverage" of the MN test-
     taking scandal (SUN, 3/12).  In S.D., Jay Posner writes
     under the headline, "Tournament Blowouts Aren't TV Bore,
     Thanks To Switch-Savvy CBS."  CBS Sports VP/Programming Mike
     Aresco: "We're not infallible.  But it's good to hear we
     make a good decision once in a while" (UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/12). 
          COME SALE AWAY: CBS MARKETWATCH's David Wilkerson
     writes that ad sales for the tournament "are up from last
     year by double-digit percentages."  Exact dollar figures
     "weren't disclosed" (CBS MARKETWATCH, 3/12).  In Toronto,
     Chris Zelkovich writes that young men are "driving" the
     Canadian TV market for college basketball, as networks are
     "bending over backward to please them, mainly because
     advertisers like them so much."  That is "one reason" CTV
     SportsNet will carry 50 hours of the men's tourney. TSN
     VP/Programming Phil King, whose net was "tempted" to carry
     the games: "U.S. college basketball has no audience here. 
     But it's very saleable" (TORONTO STAR, 3/12).
          ROLLING THE DICE: In a USA TODAY Cover Story, Tom Lowry
     reports that March "money madness is moving on line" as
     "millions of people are betting on the NCAA men's and
     women's basketball tournaments on the Internet."  Around
     $70M could be bet on the NCAA tournament in Las Vegas this
     year, which is $10M less than '98, as the gambling business
     is "being pinched" by the new competition (USA TODAY, 3/12). 
     ESPN MAGAZINE reports that an "estimated" $2.5B will be
     wagered on the men's tournament across the U.S. through un-
     licensed bookies, on-line services and company pools (ESPN
     MAGAZINE, 3/22)....WALL STREET SPORTS reported 101,000
     entries into its men's basketball pool, while ESPN.com had
     402,109 users register for its pool, with 70.1% of the fans
     picking Duke to win the tournament (THE DAILY).  
          PRESS CREDENTIALS: St. Paul Pioneer Press Editor Walker
     Lundy tells Ed Sherman of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE that he feels
     "it would have been irresponsible to hold the story" on  MN
     basketball players involved in an academic scandal.  Lundy:
     "People are complaining about when we ran the story, but
     nobody is complaining that we got the facts wrong, and
     that's what matters to me" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/12).     
 
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