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Volume 24 No. 132

Sports Media

     Fox Sports "made its third volley for a major sports
property Wednesday with a sizable bid for Wimbledon of about $120
million for four years."  In a bid entered by News Corp.
executive David Evans at a meeting in London with the All-England
Tennis Club and IMG Chair Mark McCormack, Fox offered about $30M
a year for what it termed "world rights."  Rudy Martzke notes
"that's substantially more than the combined" $21M incumbent NBC
and cable partner HBO were paying for Wimbledon rights that have
expired.  Annual losses for NBC and HBO are estimated between $6-
7M.  Fox's bid includes:  The Fox Network and its FX cable, BSkyB
satellite TV in Europe and Star TV satellite TV in Asia.  NBC
Sports President Dick Ebersol: "If the reports of their offer are
true, then Mr. Murdoch has one very large piggy bank."  Both NBC
& HBO, which have been told that they can retain their rights if
their offers are within 10% of other high bids, "figure to remain
in the running when they meet with McCormack" tomorrow.  A final
decision is not expected until mid-November (Rudy Martzke, USA
TODAY, 10/20).
     AFFILIATE WATCH:  "NBC lost no time yesterday in attacking a
revised application filed by SF Broadcasting to purchase" a Green
Bay TV station (WLUK), "contending that the new papers were
incomplete and still represented an effort by the Fox network to
mask the true extent of its control over ownership of the
station."  Fox is already facing a challenge at the FCC over
whether its parent company, News Corp. of Australia, "really owns
the Fox stations, in violation of FCC regulations" on foreign
ownership (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES, 10/20).
     CBS ON ICE:  In Dallas, Barry Horn comments on CBS' "Ice
Wars" figure skating competition: "Would the sequel 'Ice Wars II
-- The Never-Ending Search for Ratings' include a masked skater
challenging [Nancy] Kerrigan in a winner-take-all match" (DALLAS

     The FCC is expected to release its plans "spelling out just
how the phone companies can offer video programs" over their own
network.  The seven baby bells have been "lobbying hard" to get
the right to send video over their phone lines ("Bloomberg
Business News," PBS, 10/20)....TCI is expected to announce an
alliance today with Acclaim Entertainment.  Analysts expect TCI
and Acclaim to announce a service where game players will be able
to play against each other through a nationwide network
("Bloomberg Business News," 10/20)....  American Radio Systems
cited the NHL lockout in suspending the pay of longtime Bruins
radio announcer Bob Wilson (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE,

     Viacom Chair Sumner Redstone was the featured speaker at the
National Press Club yesterday.  Redstone said that Viacom expects
to sell its cable systems to InterMedia Partners L.P., a group
led by TCI.  The sale, which could bring in more than $2B for
Viacom, would help reduce the $9B debt Viacom took on in its
buyout of Paramount Communications.  It would also get the
company out of the cable industry, which Redstone said is
"subject to an onslaught of competition from the telephone
industry" (Baltimore SUN, 10/20).  After the speech, Redstone was
asked about Blockbuster Park, the sports theme park slated to be
built in South FL.  Redstone said its's "premature" to discuss
whether the park will proceed, "but called the original plans for
the park 'very extensive and I think very soundly based and very
attractive to the community'":  "But we have not yet had time to
resolve every issue that has come about as a result of the
acquisition of Blockbuster.  It may take us another couple of
days to solve all those problems" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/20).