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Volume 24 No. 115

Sports Media

     CTV is close to signing a deal to become the primary
national carrier for the Raptors and Grizzlies.  Sources have
indicated that CTV's deal with the NBA calls for the network to
receive eight Raptors games and eight Grizzlies games each
season.  That package would be supplemented by CTV picking up
another 10 or so NBA games provided by NBC.  TSN will not be the
primary NBA carrier in Canada, but the cable network will be sold
a 15-game package of Raptors and Grizzlies games (Neil Campbell,
Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/21).  Farouk Muhammad, VP of Programming
for CFMT, a multicultural TV station, is negotiating a contract
with the Raptors to have the teams' games telecast in languages
other than English or French (Ken McKee, TORONTO STAR, 10/21).

     Liberty Sports' attempt to become a more aggressive player
in attracting national sports programming contracts "will be
hampered if it does not have cooperation from the SportsChannel
services, which have yet to be incorporated in its plans,"
according to industry observers.  Liberty is in the process of
consolidating its nine regional services into "one cohesive
unit," according to a top regional executive.  One Liberty exec:
"It hasn't been a secret that we want to compete against ESPN.
We're just putting ourselves in a position to do that."  Liberty
was recently outbid by Cablevision/ITT in its attempt to acquire
the Madison Square Garden package, seen as an "important piece of
Liberty's move to national status."  One Liberty source said
losing out on MSG "hurt" the relationship with Cablevision's
Rainbow Programming Holdings, which combined forces with Liberty
in the '93 Prime/SportsChannel merger.  The Liberty source:  "The
industry was moving toward consolidation with two major regional
sports network owners.  We've actually taken a step backwards."
Rainbow President & COO Josh Sapan denied any "animosity" between
Rainbow and Liberty.  But Paul Bortz, president of Bortz & Co., a
sports analyst firm said, without MSG Network and key
SportsChannel regional services, Liberty will have trouble
exopanding to a national presence (Thomas Umstead, MULTICHANNEL
NEWS, 10/17 issue).

     Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin acknowledged yesterday that his
company has abandoned efforts to acquire a percentage of NBC.
Levin emphasized that Time Warner is racing to meet the planned
launch of its own broadcast net in January (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
10/21)....For the first time since 1980, AFC ratings are ahead of
the NFC's after 7 weeks.  NBC's AFC coverage is up 23% to 11.7,
Fox's NFC is minus-5% from CBS in '93 to 11.2.  College football
ratings continue to climb with ABC up 11% to 6.9, Notre Dame
games up 49% to 5.5 and ESPN up 52% to 3.5 (Rudy Martzke, USA
TODAY, 10/21)....ITT Corp. said yesterday that it has asked two
investment banks to look into selling all or part of its hotel
franchising business, about 220 of its 395 Sheraton hotels
worldwide (N.Y. TIMES, 10/21)....In Miami, CBS' Harlequin romance
movies have received higher ratings than Fox's NFL coverage the
past two Sundays (MIAMI HERALD, 10/21).... SportsChannel New
England will air delayed coverage of the Japanese Baseball
Championship Series between the Yomiuri Giants and the Seibu
Lions (HARTFORD COURANT, 10/21)....ESPN SportsCenter analyst
Chris Meyers has been offered Roy Firestone's host job on ESPN's
"Up Close" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/21)....ESPN ran "Super Dogs! Super
Jocks!" last night, a SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY "must see"....TNT
will show "A Salute to Michael Jordan" on November 1 (TNT,
10/20).

     "The Skills Challenge," the made-for-TV golf event owned by
NBC Sports and SNI Sports Network, earned higher ratings on both
Saturday and Sunday than the '93 broadcast, including a 38% jump
on Sunday.  The combined 3.0 was a 25% increase over the average
2.4 in '93.  The Sunday show showed a 54% jump among Men 18-49
and 53% among Men 25-54.  The Sunday show did benefit from an NFL
lead-in featuring a Raiders-Dolphins overtime game.  Sources tell
THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY that ad time for "The Skills Challenge"
was completely sold-out.  Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the title
sponsor.  NBC is looking to expand the "Skills" idea next year,
including the addition of amateur winners of a planned grassroots
golf event being developed by Streetball Partners, another NBC
Sports Ventures partner (THE DAILY).

     The final singles championship of the '95 Newsweek Champions
Cup, one of the "Super Nine" tournaments of the IBM/ATP Tour,
will be played on Monday, March 13 and broadcast on prime time by
ESPN at 9:00pm EST.  This is the first time since the inception
of the ATP Tour in '90 that a tournament final has been scheduled
for a Monday.  Tournament Dir Charlie Pasarell: "Years ago some
tournaments had Monday night finals and the ATP Tour and ESPN
asked us to try this concept once again" (Newsweek).