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Volume 24 No. 156

Sports Media

     The two Canadian teams are in the process of making final
decisions among broadcasters "willing to cough up millions of
much-needed dollars" for TV/radio rights.  The Grizzlies'
regional market includes British Columbia and Alberta, while the
Raptors have the rights to Ontario.  The Raptors are considering
six local packages, each of which includes half-season (41
games).  They expect a decision by the end of '94.  In Toronto,
Tom McKee suggests the Raptors will "be looking for something in
the neighbourhood" of $200,000 a game, or $8M for the season.
Baton Broadcasting is the "logical" choice to carry the Raptors,
having a proven record "with its financially successful Blue Jays
telecasts."  The Grizzlies "might not get figures as high as the
Raptors, but similar enthusiasm is evident" and BCTV "has the
inside track."  Nationally, the NBA is only talking with CTV and
CBC for 12-14 games and is expected to make the decision in the
next two to three weeks.  Speculations "would favour" CTV since
the net recently lost its bid to air the '96 Olympics.  TSN
"could snap up a cable package similar" to TNT's U.S. arrangement
(Tom McKee, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/18).

     Fox Sports and Twentieth Century Fox International TV "have
begun shopping European TV rights" to the "revamped" World League
of American Football.  Fox began selling the package in September
and "will offer it this week at Sportel, the sports programming
market in Monte Carlo."  In a taped presentation, Fox describes
the WLAF as their way to bring "its revolution of televised
football to Europe."  According to George Krieger, Executive VP
of Fox Sports, the goal is to "create two-tier partnerships in
each European city," such as "selling a package of games to a
terrestrial broadcaster, while offering another package to a
satellite or cable service within the country."  The six-team
World League will begin an 11-week season on April 8 (Wayne
Walley, ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 10/17 issue).

     PaineWebber announced yesterday that they have signed a
"definitive purchase agreement" to take over most of Kidder
Peabody, the troubled investment banking subsidiary of General
Electric, for $670M in common and preferred stock.  The deal ends
GE's troubled eight-year ownership of Kidder, which has been hit
this year by tumbling bond markets and an alleged bond trading
fraud which resulted in fictitious profits of $350M.  The deal
will leave GE with a seat on the board and a 25% stake in
PaineWebber (Richard Waters, FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/18).  In all, GE
officials said the company expects a $500M write-off to cover the
transaction.  But that figure is well under the $1B or more that
some analysts had suggested it would cost to close Kidder
(Douglas Frantz, N.Y. TIMES, 10/18).  John Durie writes GE Chair
Jack Welch may look for a "blockbuster sale to wipe out the
Kidder memory" -- with NBC the prime target. Welch "is aiming for
a sale price of about $5.5 billion, or a capital gain of $2
billion."  Michael Eisner is Welch's "best hope," but a combo of
ITT and a baby bell or John Malone and Ted Turner is possible
(N.Y. POST, 10/18).

     CBS held a news conference yesterday to promote "Ice Wars:
The USA vs. The World," a "manufactured" competition to be held
in November featuring U.S. Olympic skaters Nancy Kerrigan, Kristi
Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano and Paul Wylie.  Their international
opponents on the "icy battlefield" will include Oksana Baiul,
Viktor Petrenko, Katarina Witt and Kurt Browning.  The winning
team will receive $400,000 to be divided evenly among team
members.  But Kerrigan took issue said with the "Ice Wars"
billing, calling it "a little harsh."  Kerrigan:  "I'd like to
promote something other than war."  In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont
writes, "The event rings exceedingly heavy-handed. ... To pair
ice skating and war is, at best, a reach.  At worst, it's yet
another marketing spin that scorches beauty with an overkill
branding iron" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/18).

     Paramount sources have indicated that the company is
interested in purchasing Boston station WSBK Channel 38 as an
affiliate in its planned fifth network.  WSBK carries the Red
Sox, Bruins and Celtics, and one "highly placed source" said
WSBK's sports programming "won't get in the way -- at least for a
few years."  WSBK is owned by New World Communications (Jim
Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 10/18)....WFCT, Tampa Bay has agreed to
televise 12 games of the Lightning's IHL affiliate, the Atlanta
Knights (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/18)....The Hawks yesterday held
tryouts for a new public address announcer (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
10/17).