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Volume 24 No. 116

Sports Media

     The Patriots are hoping to expand coverage of their four
exhibition games to a network of stations through six states --
including VT, CT and NH.  The Patriots will sell almost all the
ads and keep the revenue of their flagship WCVB-TV (Boston)
coverage, but it could vary elsewhere (BOSTON GLOBE,
2/12)....Reports continue that CBS Broadcast Group President
Howard Stringer may leave the network to head up the programming
partnership between Bell, Atlantic, Nynex, and Pacific Telesis.
DAILY VARIETY is reporting that CBS Inc. Chair Laurance Tisch has
agreed to let Stringer out of his contract, although sources
close to CBS deny that is the case (L.A. TIMES, 2/11)....Thomson
Consumer Elections, who established the RCA Digital Satellite
System, has signed on a primary sponsor of the Cale Yarborough
NASCAR racing team (Thomson Consumer).

     Viacom is looking to "strengthen its corporate image by
leveraging Viacom as a brand halo over its high-profile
entertainment and retail properties, a la Disney," according to
this week's AD AGE.  Viacom execs have been "informally
soliticing ideas" from many major ad agencies.  Sources say that
Viacom "has been increasingly slapping its name on majority-owned
subsidiaries like Paramount and merging merchandising and
licensing operations under the Viacom name" (Warneford &
McCarthy, AD AGE, 2/13 issue)....In a piece called "Chips Off The
Block," NEWSWEEK looks at the Viacom/Blockbuster relationship,
adding that Blockbuster is "one of marketing's great success
stories, but competition and some legal woes may tarnish its
otherwise bright future" (Jonnie Roberts, NEWSWEEK, 2/20
issue)....Sunday's CHICAGO TRIBUNE features a profile of Viacom
as a "Media Monopoly in the Making" (Tim Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
2/12).

     In Portland, Jeff Baker writes that the Blazers "are losing
television viewers as they continue to lose games."  Ratings on
KGW have dropped 10% from last season and have fallen "from the
heights they hit three years ago" when the Balzers went to the
finals.  In fact, the Blazers have lost to "Jeopardy" and "Wheel
of Fortune" in three of the last four head-to-head meetings.  The
three-year contract between the team and KGW expires at the end
of this season and "with ratings down, the win-loss record down,
and interest in the Blazers way down, a vital part of the
Blazers' business empire appears to be in trouble."  However, KGW
GM Dennis Williamson is hopeful:  "Our relationship is pretty
solid.  I would hope we think of ourselves as valuable clients to
each other" (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/10).