American soccer officials are close to completing a deal
with ABC in which three to five U.S. national team games will be
televised annually for the next few years. The telecasts will
begin in June with the U.S. Cup '95. Rothenberg made the
announcement that a TV deal was close yesterday, but he declined
to say which network (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/18)....The N.Y.
POST's Phil Mushnick reports that Cablevision-owned SportsChannel
has announced it "will not provide rebates due to the loss of
more than 70 Devils and Islanders telecasts. And SportsChannel
is a premium additional pay channel that cost as much as $16 per
month." MSG Network has also not decided what it will do
regarding 38 lost Ranger games for which subscribers paid.
Mushnick: "What's to decide? If one keeps the money for goods
undelivered, it is called stealing" (Phil Mushnick, N.Y. POST,
1/18). USA Network will kick off its '95 Golf coverage with the
Pebble Beach Pro-Am on February 2. The network will also provide
early round coverage of The Ryder Cup, The Masters, The Players
Championships, and The PGA Seniors Championship (USA)....The NFL
Expansion Draft will be televised live on ESPN on February 15
(ESPN)....According to a recent study by BBDO Worldwide
advertising agency, the top rated show among Hispanic-American
television viewers between the ages of 14 and 49 is ABC's "Monday
Night Football" (NFL)....TBS will telecast "Hank Aaron: Chasing
the Dream" on April 4 to commemorate the 20 anniversary of his
715th homer (Turner). ...Ratings: The AFC Championship Game drew
a 27.9 rating/56 share on Sunday. CBS reported that its Eye on
Sports ice skating series averaged an 3.4 rating over the 11
weeks the series aired. It "greatest appeal was among women"
(Milton Kent, Baltimore SUN, 1/18).
NBA Radio will begin its fourth season of telecasts January
22 when it broadcasts the Rockets/Bulls game. NBA Radio is the
league's nationally syndicated radio network and delivered to
more than 130 stations nationwide. The NBA is the only sports
league to produce and market its own national radio series. The
season will consist of 13 regular season games, and will include
the All-Star Game and post-season coverage (NBA).
Time Warner's negotiations to acquire cable systems "are
causing concern on Wall Street, where investors fear the moves
will hurt the company's credit ratings and damp its stock price,"
according to this morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL. Time Warner has
been in discussions with Cablevision and Houston Industries about
their cable operations, although Time Warner "wouldn't comment on
the progress of the talks." Timothy Pettee, analyst at Alliance
Capital Management Corp: "The $64,000 question is how do they
increase their cable footprint, while lowering the cable
perception that the stock suffers on Wall Street?" (Eben Shapiro,
WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/18).
Overnight numbers for the WB Network "barely made a ripple
on the national pond." The network averaged a 1.9 rating and 3
share for its 8-10pm debut last Wednesday. Because of the low
numbers, WB "starts out having to give make-goods to advertisers
who were promised a 3 rating for the debut." The network had
planned ahead and withheld 25% of its advertising inventory "in
order to make up for the shortfall." James Kellner, head of WB,
dismissed the "dismal national numbers" and pointed to
"encouraging local-market performances," including New York where
the WB affiliate WPIX recorded a 6.9/10 average. Kellner would
like to have "higher numbers" among the network's core
demographic of 18-34 year old, and the network is working on
promotions to build viewer awareness for the new shows (Steve
Coe, BROADCASTING AND CABLE, 1/16 issue).
GM'S POLLED: BROADCASTING & CABLE surveyed 150 randomly
selected TV station GMs on the viability of a 5th network. 63%
believe there was room for a fifth network, but only 22% polled
said a sixth network would survive. Of those who said only one
can last, 64% picked United Paramount Network, with 21% choosing
WB (B&C, 1/16 issue).
MLB Owners may give Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas
"preliminary approval sometime this week to begin negotiating a
sales price for the Pirates. Rigas, the city's preferred buyer,
has until January 29 to conclude a deal with the team's owners.
If he fails, the Pirates' owners can sell the team to anyone,
including an investor who could move the team to another city.
Rigas is expected to get the approval after flying to Chicago
last Friday to meet with White Sox Owner Jerry Reinsdorf. At the
meeting, Rigas quelled owners' fears that he would attempt to
build a TV "superstation," a la TBS, WWOR or WGN, if he bought
the Pirates (Steve Halvonik, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/17).