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CBS SPORTSLINE VOWS TO CUT TIES TO SPORTSBOOK ONLINE SITE
Published March 29, 1999
CBS said that it "has received assurances" from SportsLine USA that the Internet company "will sell off its ownership" of Sportsbook.com, a Web address used by an offshore betting service, according to ESPN.com's Tom Farrey. CBS said in a release: "The network has taken immediate action. SportsLine USA has assured CBS Sports that the URL currently leased to Sportsbook.com will be sold." The announcement came on Friday in response to a ESPN.com report that SportsLine USA, 18% of which is owned by NCAA TV partner CBS, makes money from Sportsbook.com, a Web site that takes bets on the NCAA basketball tournament (ESPN.com, 3/26). While ESPN.com posted the sportsbook story on its main page all weekend, CBS SportsLine made no mention of the impending sale on its Web site (THE DAILY). MARKETING MADNESS: In St. Pete, Kyle Parks wrote that "critics argue that the NCAA is getting too commercial," as "more and more corporations get their names attached to the Final Four." Pepsi "is making the biggest splash" by using five Ford F-150 trucks to give away "more than" 60,000 cans of its new Pepsi One. NCAA Exec Dir Cedric Dempsey: "I don't think we've lost that balance to overcommercialization." Parks writes that this year, 16 NCAA sponsors will pay $1-4M each to use the Final Four name in TV and print ads and contests. Since '89, NCAA sponsorship revenues have quadrupled to more than $20M annually (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/28). THIS HOUSE IS NOT A DOME: The NCAA received criticism for holding the event at Tropicana Field. In Chicago, Jay Mariotti: "Please, come back to the arenas. Dome is where the heart ain't" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/29). In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes, "Shame on the NCAA. ... No reason for the domes, except for greed" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/29). In DC, Tony Kornheiser writes that housing the media and coaches in Tampa and staging the games and press conferences in St. Petersburg means that "getting from one spot to another takes hours" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/29). On ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," John Feinstein, on St. Pete: "Frankly, this is a beautiful place ... but logistically it's a nightmare. We're all spread out all over the map, you can't get anywhere in traffic, the arena's terrible for basketball." Mike Lupica: "Which IOC guy picked this venue? ... But the flavor of the event is where there are central plazas" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 3/28). ON THE UPSIDE: Nineteen-year-old Alicia Brown hit a three-point shot worth $2M in the Gillette Challenge at the Final Four on Saturday. Brown, coached by Rick Barry, won $1M, while another $1M will be donated to the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (PALM BEACH POST, 3/28). ...Ticket brokers are "asking as much as $2,500" for a courtside seat for tonight's final (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/29).