SBD/29/Sports Media

MLB AIMED TO ALLOW JAPANESE TO WATCH GAME IN PRIMETIME

          MLBI VP Jim Small defended the league's decision to
     play today's Cubs-Mets season opener in Tokyo during
     primetime in Japan, resulting in a 5:00am ET start in the
     U.S.  Small: "With all due respect to fans in New York and
     Chicago, we thought it would be disrespectful to not play at
     a time when [Japanese fans] could come and see it.  In that
     case, why not stay and play the games in the States?"  In
     N.Y., Rafael Hermoso notes that in '96, the Nets and Magic
     played in Japan during the "wee hours to draw a prime U.S. 
     audience."  Small: "People are going to complain and
     literally it's something we did consider.  We're not trying
     to alienate the fans" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/29).  The MLB
     Authentic Collection sponsored a remote broadcast of this
     morning's Cubs-Mets game at N.Y.'s ESPNZone.  Fans who
     attended WFAN's "Bagel and Breakfast" event were offered
     breakfast along with a chance to win prize packs.  In
     return, the MLB Authentic Collection was given opening
     billboards at the top of each hour during WFAN's post-game
     show, and three recorded commercials throughout the program
     (MLB Authentic Collection). "GMA's" Tony Perkins reported
     live from N.Y.'s ESPNZone and noted that "about 125" people
     watched today's game (ABC, 3/29).  See (#11) for more.
          MLB NOTES: MLB Int'l has picked up its one-year option
     with Inchon TV Limited (iTV) to continue televising MLB
     games in Korea.  iTV has carried games since '98 (MLBI).
     ....BARRON'S examines the efforts of Cyber-Pitch.com, a
     joint-venture with Houston-based InterWeb Design, which
     plans to help MLB teams be more "fan-friendly" through
     "interactive marketing of tickets, products and
     extracurricular activities" (BARRON'S, 3/27 issue).

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