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Volume 24 No. 116

Sports Media

     Sony Corp. announced yesterday that it has taken a"staggering" $2.7B write-off on Sony Pictures Entertainment, ontop of a $510M operating loss on the studio.  The news, "shookthe entertainment industry and raised new questions about Sony'slong-range commitment to Hollywood" (L.A. TIMES, 11/18)....MiltonKent notes this weekend "will be fairly noteworthy for womensports announcers," with two all-female crews covering livenetwork TV events.  On ABC, ESPN's Robin Roberts and analystsBetsy Nagelsen and Pam Shriver work the Virginia SlimsChampionships.  Meanwhile, ESPN kicks off women's collegebasketball with Beth Mowlins, Mimi Griffin and Christine Brennan(Baltimore SUN, 11/18).

     The Patriots announced that will leave WBZ-AM radio next
season and shift their broadcasts to "rock 'n roll WBCN," marking
the first time in the team's 35 years that play-by-play will be
on the FM dial.  Although no figures were announced, WBCN's
owner, Infinity Broadcasting reportedly will pay the Pats $3.5M
next season and $10.5M over the next three years, "the most
lucrative package" in the NFL.  WBZ is paying the team $1.85M
this season.  WBZ offered close to $2M, as did American Radio
Systems on behalf of WEEI.  WBCN GM Tony Beradini: "Yes, it is a
lot of money, but I believe that three years from now this deal
is going to look like a bargain."  The fact that all Pats games
are expected to be on TV in the foreseeable future because of
home sellouts "handicaps radio sales."  On the positive side, the
fact that the team also owns Foxboro Stadium provides
merchandising possibilities, "linking sponsors to signage in the
stadium" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/18).  The Pats are
Infinity's fifth NFL team, which includes the Cowboys, Eagles,
Buccaneers and Jets.  It also has the Mets, Rangers, 76ers and
Flyers, and is looking to establish a sports-marketing network,
"offering advertisers key spots in multiple markets with better
rates than they could get in single-station deals" (Jim Baker,
BOSTON HERALD, 11/18).

     Cable-giant TCI said it will proceed with a "sweeping plan
to split the company into four separate businesses, each with its
own class of stock."  Wall Street "reacted favorably" to the news
with TCI's class A stock rising $.75 to $24.125 a share.  TCI is
creating a holding company to house four separate divisions:
domestic cable operations, domestic programming, technology
ventures, and international cable and programming.  By splitting
the company, TCI is betting that Wall Street "will assign a
greater value to the parts than the whole."  TCI execs promised
to give a "clearer picture" at an investor meeting December 6
(Robichaux & Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/18).