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Volume 24 No. 156

Sports Media

     The Sharks are not on TV as much as their fans would like
since the team "bears the financial burden of airing their own
games," according to Colin Seymour of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.
The team pays for air time and sells their own ads, "which don't
always move fast at the rate of $1,000 per 30-second spot."  The
Sharks are not selling enough ads to offset the expenses of
producing telecasts and paying arena and announcing costs, and
fees to TV stations.  The team has worked with KICU to air as
many games as possible.  In addition to the production cost, "the
real problem is scarce viewership."  Sharks ratings on KICU have
doubled this season to a 2.0 rating share, but still trail
Warriors telecasts (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/26).
     HORNETS EXTEND RADIO DEAL:  The Hornets and WBT-AM have
agreed on a contract extension that will keep the team on the
flagship station for at least five more years.  WBT also has
local broadcast rights to the Panthers, giving the
Jefferson/Pilot-owned station radio rights to Carolina's two
major league franchises.  The new contract provides for an
additional Hornets talk show on WBT, and promotional ties during
the station's other programming.  The Hornets produce their own
programming, sell advertising and keep the revenue.  WBT pays no
"up-front rights fees -- its financial commitment in the deal is
in the form of providing the air time and the commercial slots
included in it for the Hornets to sell" (David Poole, CHARLOTTE
OBSERVER, 2/25).
     YANKS ON THE FAN?  WFAN's deal with the Mets expires at the
end of the season, and Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS
reports WFAN might not renew.  Instead The FAN might make a run
at the Yankees when the Yanks deal with WABC runs out in two
years.  WABC has reportedly lost "big bucks" on its Yankee
contract and Raissman writes that Yankee Owner George
Steinbrenner may like the "thought of having FAN at his disposal
-- a place to do his spin-doctoring on a moment's notice" (N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, 2/26).
     TORONTO:  Canadian broadcast sources indicate that TSN is
interested in acquiring local TV rights to the Maple Leafs to add
to its 80-plus Blue Jays schedule.  The Leafs' 15-year deal with
Molson's Molstar Communications expires after this season and the
club is looking for "huge gains both in revenue and the number of
games broadcast."  Maple Leafs President & GM Cliff Fletcher has
indicated that he is seeking C$15M per season and wants to double
the number of games currently shown.  The team, through
negotiator IMG, is still talking to Molson (Rob Longley, TORONTO
SUN, 2/27).

     ESPN Radio's "The Fabulous Sports Babe" will be heard on
WQXI in Atlanta.  ESPN Spokesperson Dan Quinn: "She started on
July 4, 1994 with 35 affiliates and now it's up to 110."  Quinn
noted that The Babe is in seven of the top 11 markets (Prentis
Rogers, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/26). ....CTV Sports is expected
to be awarded a 4-year contract by the Int'l Skating Union for
the World Figure Skating Championships over CBC (TORONTO SUN,
2/27).....Rick Gentile, CBS' Sports Senior VP/Production and the
"brains behind March Madness," is profiled in the current edition
of INSIDE SPORTS.  Gentile: "There's nothing I'd rather do
anywhere, any time, than the NCAA Tournament" (Bob Rubin, INSIDE
SPORTS, 4/95 issue)....The Fox network has been in NHL cities
filming promos with some of the league's best players.  Fox wants
to make the messages "lighthearted and humorous, to help viewers
see the players as everyday guys" (Mike Bruton, PHILADELPHIA
INQUIRER, 2/24)....Larry Sorensen, former MLB pitcher, reportedly
has been asked to join new No. 1 Tigers announcer Frank Beckmann
as color analyst (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/27)....TCI is reportedly
the leading bidder for the cable systems of Chronicle Publishing
which has subscribers in HI, NM and CA (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
2/27)....Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, MaliVai Washington,
Jonathan Stark and the Jensen brothers have all filmed spots that
will run on ESPN as part of the ATP Tour's image campaign.  The
15- and 30-second spots begin airing in March (ATP Tour)....A
MIAMI HERALD ratings analysis shows that a serious decline after
football season.  Ratings for both the Heat and Panthers are down
from last year's numbers (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 2/26).

     Many reports over the weekend note that Ted Turner is back
in discussions with the Big Three networks for a possible merger
or another venture with Turner Broadcasting.  Last week, Turner
met with top execs from each of the major networks, NBC, CBS and
ABC.  And according to BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS, a number of
scenarios are being "bandied about."  One would include the
combination of Turner, NBC and some parts of TCI.  One of the key
reasons Turner is again speaking with the networks is that Turner
Broadcasting and TCI are getting closer to settling on a price
for buying Time Warner's 19.4% stake in Turner (N.Y. POST, 2/25).
     FOX WOES:  In a development that could mean "new legal
trouble" for News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch, a top federal
regulator said that he had not known in '85 that News Corp.
controlled 99% of the equity in six TV stations that Murdoch
acquired to launch the Fox network.  As a result, "it breathes
new life into the FCC's current investigation" of Murdoch,
according to Edmund Andrews of the N.Y. TIMES.  The federal
regulator, Roy Stewart, said he thought Murdoch, who was about to
become an American citizen, was going to own the stations, not
News Corp. (N.Y. TIMES, 2/25).
     TIME WARNER:  Sunday's N.Y. TIMES reports that Time Warner
Chair Gerald Levin is "campaigning hard" for shareholders'
confidence so that he can avoid the fate of CEO's of other
companies who have been forced from their job after the
companies' stock lagged (N.Y. TIMES, 2/26).
     BLACK EYE AT BLACK ROCK:  David Letterman on Howard Stringer
leaving CBS:  "Why would anybody want to leave the Titanic?  I
have no idea" ("Late Night," 2/24).