Beginning in '96, ABC will pay $45M for four years of the
world and European figure skating championships, "plus three
world speed-skating events." Richard Sandomir reports that is
"slightly more than twice NBC's current five-year, $27.5M deal,
which expires this year." ABC Sports President Dennis Swanson
said the network will air six hours of the World Championship in
prime time, adding: "This isn't a made-for, it's the worlds. If
you want to identify with the sport, this is the kind of event
you want. I'd hope we'd break even" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y.
On Wednesday, the FTC said it was seeking to "bar the
acquisition" of QVC, Inc. by TCI and Comcast Corp., "contending"
that the $1.42B deal would give TCI too much "market power in the
home shopping industry." Yesterday, TCI said it was preparing to
give the government "10 days notice that it intends to consummate
its acquisition of QVC by late February." TCI also plans to meet
with FTC officials next week to personally argue their case. A
industry source told the L.A. TIMES that TCI will fight the FTC
in court if the agency strikes the deal. Comcast would
apparently back TCI in any litigation. Comcast Chair Barry
Diller: "The government has every right to investigate the
matter, but this is torture" (Shiver & Harris, L.A. TIMES, 1/20).
The N.Y. POST reports this morning that the takeover will still
occur, and analysts say that "even if TCI was knocked out,
Comcast would proceed on its own or with a new equity partner"
(John Durie, N.Y. POST, 1/20).
ESPN's Mike Milbury will make his studio analyst debut
tonight when the network cover the Rangers/Sabres game in New
York. Milbury on the season: "The quality of the games is going
to be so intense that it should prove a boon to viewers"
(HARTFORD COURANT, 1/20)....ESPN's Chris LaPlace: "Fox deserves
credit for its NFL coverage and they may do well on the NHL, but
they haven't done a hockey game yet. We set the standard. We do
hockey better than anyone" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/20). The
NBA will present its fifth annual NBA All-Star Stay in School
Celebration during All-Star Weekend. The one hour special will
be broadcast simultaneously by NBC, TNT, Nickelodeon, and BET at
12:00 EST on February 11. The event is sponsored by Coca-Cola,
IBM, and SkyBox Int'l (NBA)....BUSINESS WEEK profiles Ted Turner
and his desire to become a "heavy hitter" in Hollywood (BUSINESS
WEEK, 1/23 issue).
"At a recent meeting of broadcast and cable outlets, how to
deal with ShamBall was a hot topic," according to Richard
Samdomir in today's N.Y. TIMES. TV Consultant Bryan Burns: "I
think stations will tell clubs, 'We'll work with you, but we
won't carry the full schedule.'" In New York, WPIX/Channel 11
usually sells time to MSG to air 50 games. What is the
"obligation" this year? WPIX GM Michael Eigner: "It's something
we're talking about internally." What will SportsChannel New
York do with its commitment to 75 games? SportsChannel GM Jim
Bates: "It's premature. But if they put clowns like me out
there, we'd have some problem" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/20). ABC Sports
President Dennis Swanson on reports that NBC would get the '95
World Series: "We won a coin flip for the first World Series and
it hasn't been played yet" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/20).