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  • BLAZING A DIFFERENT TRAIL: COULD TEAM START-UP ITS OWN RSN?

              The Trail Blazers are "ready to pull the plug" on its
         BlazerVision PPV system, but "still won't say where the
         telecasts might turn up next season," according to John Hunt
         of the Portland OREGONIAN.  The team could "retain
         BlazerVision but reduce prices further, work out a deal with
         an existing cable company such as Fox Sports Net Northwest
         (FSNNW), or start its own cable network."  Hunt wrote that
         the Blazers "would be wise" to drop BlazerVision because the
         service "has gained a stigma among many fans who resent
         having to pay to watch their own team."  The option of
         striking a deal with FSNNW is "still on ice."  Meanwhile,
         Hunt called the task of starting its own cable net an
         "ambitious" choice, as the team would "have a hard time
         matching the distribution" of FSNNW, which reaches 98% of
         cable homes in the Northwest (OREGONIAN, 5/7).  
              BARGAIN VIEWING? In Houston, David Barron wrote that
         the Rockets "continue to be one of just three NBA teams,"
         along with the Blazers and the Spurs, which offer local
         playoff games on PPV, but the Rockets' $19.95 cost is the
         lowest of the three (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/9).     
    
    

    Print | Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA, News Corp./Fox, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Media, Vulcan Ventures
  • COSTAS TELLS LARRY KING THAT SOME ANCHORS TRY TOO HARD

              NBC Sports announcer Bob Costas was a guest on "Larry
         King Live" Saturday, and told King that as far as cable
         outlets go, HBO "is a place where I think every broadcaster
         or performer would like to be, because they do stuff of just
         incredibly high quality."  On HBO's "Real Sports" program:
         "I think everyone with journalistic bent in sports would
         love to be a part of that program."  King asked Costas his
         thoughts on the state of sports broadcasting today and if
         anchors tried to be too funny.  Costas: "Sports doesn't have
         to be somber. ... I used to be referred to ... as
         'irreverent.'  I think the reason for that was that I was
         willing, occasionally, to jab at the prevailing tone, to
         counterpunch.  Well, how do you counterpunch if the whole
         tone is one of frat house frivolity?"  Costas: "When I watch
         ESPN or CNN, I see a lot of talented and likable men and
         women on the air.  But you can overplay any hand."  On the
         injections of humor: "I just wish that it was the spice
         instead of the main course. ... What I do think is done too
         much is these 30 or 45 second lead-ins to the Cavalier-Pacer
         highlights, which is just an excuse for a guy to do his
         sixth rate stand-up act, even though he's sitting down."  On
         Fox: "I don't even understand 'same game, Fox attitude.'  Am
         I supposed to think I didn't like baseball until the Fox
         attitude came on?  I don't get it" ("Larry King Live," 5/8). 
                   
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, HBO, NBC, News Corp./Fox, Media, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • EARLY OVERNIGHTS FOR "NBA ON NBC" HAS RATINGS DOWN 21%

              For complete overnight ratings of the opening weekend
         of the NBA playoffs on NBC, see (#29).  MEDIAWEEK's John
         Consoli reports that heading into the first round, NBC was
         about 85% sold out of its playoff ad inventory, which
         accounts for about 80% of the network's annual NBA ad
         revenue.  Turner Sports has sold about 90% of its NBA post-
         season inventory.  NBA is "slightly behind" last year's
         sales effort, while Turner is "at about the same level as
         last year."  NBC's playoff inventory "is said to be
         generating" 10% increases over last year (MEDIAWEEK, 5/10).
              IS SMALL MARKET MATCHUP A NIGHTMARE? In N.Y., Mike Wise
         wrote that a Pacers-Jazz NBA Final would be "a prime-time
         nightmare" for NBC, as the two "small-market, veteran teams"
         would "seem to point to fewer viewers."  However, NBC
         "contends that it is not playing favorites."  NBC Sports
         Chair Dick Ebersol: "I'm a big believer that for the finals
         to work, you have to have stories.  With Reggie Miller and
         Larry Bird, you have ready-made stars."  NBC Sports
         VP/Information Ed Markey: "The two most important factors  
         -- in order -- are story line and length of series.  Market
         size is gravy" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9).  In Atlanta, Prentis
         Rogers wrote that NBC and Turner "finally can loosen their
         ties" because, "despite the lockout, the shortened season"
         and the "underachieving" Lakers, the NBA's TV partners "have
         arrived at the postseason with their core viewership
         intact."  But "both know the postseason is where success or
         failure ultimately will lie" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/8).
              GOING EASY ON THE HYPE, GIVING IT A REST: USA TODAY's
         Michael Hiestand writes that NBC "deserves credit for
         avoiding too much hype" during its telecasts of this past
         weekend's first round NBA playoff games.  Hiestand: "NBC
         could have gone overboard in frantically trying to hook
         viewers.  Instead, it was credible" (USA TODAY, 5/10).    
    
    

    Print | Tags: Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBC, Media, Time Warner, Utah Jazz
  • MEDIA NOTES

              NEWSDAY's Harry Berkowitz examined the "soaring" value
         of cable networks and wrote that Cablevision "is one of a
         number of major players reaping the rewards of the booming
         cable network business" with a total worth currently
         estimated at $3B.  The "most valuable cable network" is
         ESPN, with its total worth estimated at $9B (NEWSDAY, 5/9).
         ...In DC, Ken Denlinger profiled John Thompson and his role
         as host of a weekly talk radio show on WTEM-AM.  Thompson,
         who "has shown his witty and relaxed side" as host, has
         delivered "twice the audience" of men 25-54 that tuned in
         during the fall and the Arbitron rating for men 18-34 "is
         even better" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/8)....In N.Y., Keith Kelly
         wrote that SI "retracted" its original statement last week
         that its book on the coaching techniques of former UNC
         basketball coach Dean Smith was written by Smith with David
         Chadwick.  The book was instead written "solely by
         Chadwick."  SI Publicity Manager Robin Shallow: "It was
         human error.  It certainly wasn't intentional" (N.Y. POST,
         5/9)....CBS SportsLine presents a week-long special starting
         today examining the "advancement and inequities provided for
         African-Americans in sports" (CBS SportsLine, 5/9)....FSN's
         Keith Olbermann, previewing upcoming highlights during a
         lead-in to a commercial break last night: "We promise we
         will not try to sell you a magazine" (FSN, 5/9).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, News Corp./Fox, Sports Illustrated, Media, SportsLine.com, Walt Disney
  • NHL SAYS IT'S NOT SURPRISED BY ABC'S SCALED-BACK TV SCHEDULE

              ABC Sports announced its plans to air "just four days
         of NHL coverage next season -- the minimum required under
         its agreement with the league."  The "NHL on Fox" had 11
         broadcasts this past season.  NHL Exec VP Steve Solomon said
         the league understood the network's decision: "Frankly, it's
         been very, very difficult for regular season games to
         demonstrate their importance on over-the-air network
         television, week in and week out" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/8).  In
         St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote that ABC's decision means
         Disney spent $600M "to beef up hockey on ESPN and ESPN2." 
         Pilson Communications President Neal Pilson: "Disney did
         this deal for ESPN and mostly ESPN2.  Not for the good of
         the NHL."  Jones: "Good news for the league: more money for
         its TV deal.  Bad news: less exposure.  And the bad news is
         worse than the good news is good" (ST. PETE TIMES, 5/9).    
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Media, Walt Disney
  • TEEING UP ON THE WEB: CNBC SET TO PARTNER ON GOLF SITE

              CNBC Sports and Atlanta-based Beverly Hills Ltd. have
         launched the Internet golf portal, GlobalGolf.com.  The site
         will feature golf apparel, merchandising, tee time
         reservations, travel and hospitality, publishing, golf
         information and other product links.  GlobalGolf.com will be
         an independent company initially owned by the two companies
         and operated by the management of Beverly Hills Ltd.  CNBC
         will provide promotion for the site, while Beverly Hills
         Ltd. will provide content and related services that may be
         purchased on the site (Beverly Hills Ltd.)  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Media
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