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Volume 24 No. 160

Sports Media

     For the first broadcasts of NHL games, Fox is offering a
more regionalized broadcast schedule, high production values,
"hot graphics" and a "power play of national and local
promotion," according to ELECTRONIC MEDIA.  Fox has six teams of
marketing and promotion staffers visiting affiliates to offer
help in promoting the NHL.  Fox Exec VP for Network Distribution
Ken Solomon:  "The most important thing is to sit down with local
sales forces and help them market the game.  We didn't just send
them scripts."  Fox is urging stations to hold out for "premium
pricing for their hockey ad inventory."  As for national spots,
Fox said time is 99% sold (Jon Lafayette, ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 3/20
issue).

     The new online venture between Paul Allen's Starwave service
and ESPN (see THE DAILY, 3/10), which unveils a new sports
service next month, is looking for sponsors.  According to
Charles Waltner of AD AGE, ESPN is asking for up to $1M each for
the six to eight sponsorships for the service.  ESPN will
guarantee advertisers a presence on all of ESPN's Online services
-- including its current Prodigy site, a version slated to run on
the developing Microsoft Network, a World Wide Web site and on
AT&T's Ziff-Davis Interchange.  Tom Hagopian, VP of ESPN
Enterprises: "It seems more efficient than carving up advertising
into a hundred different ways."  Ticketmaster, owned by Allen,
will also have a presence on Starwave, something ESPN "is
anxiously awaiting."  Ticketmaster's site "eventually will offer
transaction capabilities" (AD AGE, 3/20 issue).
     TECHNO-TRAILBLAZER:  With the announcement over the weekend
that he invested $500M for a 20% stake in DreamWorks, Allen, the
owner of the NBA Blazers, is profiled in this morning's L.A.
TIMES and USA TODAY.  In L.A., Amy Harmon notes one theory on why
Allen invested in DreamWorks:  He was "star-struck and the Dream
Team" of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen
needed money.  But friends and  business associates "dismiss as
typical Hollywood conceit and jealous griping the suggestion that
Allen is star-struck."  They say that Allen thinks the people who
will drive technology are going to be the people that "make the
content" (L.A. TIMES, 3/21).  Allen is also the cover story in
this morning's USA TODAY Money section.  Kevin Maney notes that
since '91, Allen has spent about $1B assembling a "promising
empire of 27 small companies aimed at the information highway."
Worth $4B, Allen says he is using his wealth to nurture new
technologies and, perhaps, find the next Microsoft (USA TODAY,
3/21).

     The Golf Channel has signed a multi-year charter sponsorship
agreement with General Motors.  The deal, announced by Golf
Channel CEO and President Joseph Gibbs, will include all facets
of the company's automobile divisions, including Cadillac, Buick
and Oldsmobile, as well as the GM credit card program.  There
will be several cross-promotion and grass roots programs to be
featured on The Golf Channel.  Golf Channel COO Gary Stevenson
also announced that they have reached multi-year agreements with
Anheuser-Busch, PaineWebber, Callaway Golf, Rolex, Data General,
True Temper, Golfsmith and Ram Golf.  The network has now inked
12 national companies to sponsorship deals. Stevenson called the
agreements "significant" because A-B, GM, Paine Webber, and Data
General become "our first charter sponsors outside the golf
business" (Golf Channel).

     NBC's coverage of Sunday's Bulls-Pacers game drew a 13.4
rating and a 34 share, making it the highest rated regular-season
NBC game since a Knicks-Celtics game in '73.  And, when national
ratings come in this week, the network predicts that the game
will be the "third or fourth-highest-rated NBA game ever"
(Richard Huff, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/21).  The highest rated NBA
regular-season game remains the Bucks-Lakers in '72, which got a
14.7 on ABC (John Carmody, WASHINGTON POST, 3/21).  In New York,
Richard Sandomir writes that Michael Jordan could have returned
on TNT last Friday, but TNT has many fewer viewers than NBC.
Yeah, he needed two more days to hone his 7-28 shooting" (N.Y.
TIMES, 3/21).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent notes, "Those are actual
cheers and huzzahs you hear coming from 30 Rockefeller Plaza in
New York, as NBC officials dance a jig over the return of Michael
Jordan to the NBA" (Baltimore SUN, 3/21).  Rudy Martzke notes the
effect Jordan's return had on CBS' NCAA hoops ratings.  Already
down 7% for the first round (6.5) and down 11% for Saturday's
triple-header (5.9), Sunday's games fell 27% to a 5.6 (USA TODAY,
3/21).