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Volume 24 No. 134

Sports Media

     The Cardinals and KPLR-Channel 11 have entered into a new
partnership, according to a report in the ST. LOUIS POST-
DISPATCH.  In a move that is becoming a "growing trend in sports
television," the teams and broadcasters will share expenses and
revenues.  KPLR won the rights to the Cardinals in '88, but
speculation exists that they overpaid for the package, and have
been hurt financially.  The new agreement "will help the station
avoid possible severe losses" that could emerge if the strike
continues and replacement players are used.  Details of the plan
were limited, but it was reported that the guarantees the
Cardinals no money.  The team and KPLR "will share revenue from
dollar one" with the partnership running for two years.  Dan
Farrell, Cardinals Dir of Broadcasting:  "This brings the
resources of the ballclub into the television selling end.  It
enhances the package" (Dan Caesar, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH,

     The NFL on Fox finished only six percent below CBS's '93
numbers for the NFC package.  Most had projected a 10-15%
decline.  ATLANTA CONSTITUTION TV columnist Prentis Rogers:
"'Fox NFL Sunday' was clearly a success, and with [Jimmy] Johnson
in the mix presumably for the next three years, the future is
bright" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/16).  In Minneapolis, Rachel
Blount writes that Fox pumped "broadcasts full of fun and energy
without distracting from the games. ... Howie Long is clearly the
broadcasting rookie of the year."  Blount panned Fox's promotions
(Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 1/16).  In Toronto, Rob Longley:  "The
network has mixed the best of what was CBS Sports with the
cutting edge of '90's TV technology" (TORONTO SUN, 1/16).

     USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke says the all-California Super Bowl
could hurt ABC's ratings, citing a lack of interest from the
eastern U.S., nearly three-touchdown point-spread, and lack of
the Cowboys and their many fans....Ratings for the Cowboys-49ers
game were 9% higher than last year's NFC title game at 34.2 and
the highest NFC title game since CBS's 42.9 in 1982 (Rudy
Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/17)....Fox will not try and lure viewers
with a special halftime show during the Super Bowl as it has in
past years.  Fox Entertainment Group President John Matoian:  "We
have converted" (Eric Mink, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/16)....ESPN
received six of nine sports CableACE Awards, including two for
the networks coverage of last year's NHL Stanley Cup Finals
(ESPN)....MSG's production of Ranger games was also honored as
the Best Live Sports Event work (Phil Mushnick, N.Y. POST, 1/16).

     The NHLPA has launched a TV show that will give players
exposure to both American and Canadian audiences.  "Be a Player,"
will be a 30-minute show aimed at both youth and adult audiences
featuring tips from players, skills competitions between NHL
stars, NHL trivia and an in-depth interview with a marquee
player.  The show, to be hosted by TSN's Paul Romanuk, will air
in the U.S. on ESPN2.  The production will reportedly attempt to
mimic the NBA's "Inside Stuff."  Similar to the NBA's effort, "it
will be filled with promotional fluff ... an easy, breezy watch
for hockey fans" (Rob Longley, TORONTO SUN, 1/15).
     HOCKEY TUBE NOTES:  Fox will not increase its NHL schedule
beyond the final two regular-season Sundays.  But Fox could
receive a rebate due to the cancellation of the All Star Game
(Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/17).  News Corp. Chair Rupert
Murdoch: "There is clearly a growing interest in hockey in this
country.  We're going to work closely with hockey in making it a
better TV sport" (Bob Keisser, KNIGHT RIDDER, 1/15). ....DirecTV
viewers can expect an NHL package similar to NBA's "League Pass"
by next October, according to DirecTV VP Tom Bracken (VANCOUVER
PROVINCE, 1/13).

     The planned merger between TBS and NBC "collapsed" over
issues of control over the merged operation during talks Friday.
TBS Chair Ted Turner: "We couldn't agree on corporate governance
-- control."  Sources said NBC parent company GE wanted to
maintain "at least a 51% interest" in the combined network
because GE "sees great potential in the communications business."
GE is not in negotiations with anyone else about a sale of NBC,
but said Sunday "it still wants to find a partner to help it
expand NBC" (Sharpe & Lippman, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/16).  NBC
expressed "some hope" talks could resume, but an anonymous TBS
exec  said "the deal is just over" (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES,