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Volume 24 No. 117

Sports Media

     On a cumulative basis 32.1 billion people around the worldwatched one or more of the games of World Cup '94 -- one billionmore than expected and 5.4 billion more than watched ITALIA '90,according to figures compiled by SRi, the research arm of FIFA'smarketing partner, ISL.  A total of 16,539 hours of World Cup '94were broadcast around the world, almost 2,000 more than the14,693 hours of ITALIA '90.  Regional breakdowns follow (FIFANEWS).                        
NO.
BROADCAST
COUNTRIES
CUMULATIVE TV
VIEWING
AUDIENCE
(000s)
REGION
1990
1994
 
1990
1994
Europe
35
54
 
7,643,445
6,773,389
N. Amer/Caribbean
23
21
 
389,522
373,149
Cent/SouthAmerica
20
20
 
3,281,546
4,289,105
Africa
49
50
 
2,552,388
3,387,024
Middle East
13
12
 
498,016
1,474,677
Asia
20
23
 
12,318,054
15,797,360
Pacific
7
8
 
9,758
20,948
World Totals
167
188
26,692,729
32,115,652

     The Sharks and San Jose Arena have announced that they have
joined with Sun Microsystem Computer Co. of Mountain View, CA, in
a collaborative venture to build the Sharks' and the Arena's Home
Pages on the World Wide Web "into a pair of the most popular and
advanced sports and entertainment web sites on the Internet."  As
exclusive internet technology provider to the Sharks and San Jose
Arena, Sun Microsystems will provide their Netra server and other
software, as well as design expertise and access to the latest
technology to upgrade the Sharks' two-month old Web presence.
Sun will also become title sponsor of both home pages.  Address:
http://www.sj-sharks.com (Sharks).
     FRENCH OPEN ONLINE:  Beginning May 26, USA Network and
Prodigy will offer online tennis fans "a complete menu" of
features from the French Open in Paris.  Included:  daily updates
including quotes from USA analysts John McEnroe and Tracy Austin;
a quiz; interviews with Austin and USA Network Exec Producer
Gordon Beck; bio information on USA staff; a complete USA Network
broadcast schedule; photo gallery; French Open history; player
rankings; and players to watch.  USA Network will carry 33 hours
of the French Open, starting Monday, May 29 at 10am EDT (USA
Network).
     OTHER ONLINE NOTES:  NEWSWEEK and S.F.-based Virtual
Communications are launching "Virtual City" -- "the first mass-
market, service-oriented lifestyle magazine aimed at making
cyberspace accessible to everyone."  The first issue will be
distributed in September.  The magazine will start as a quarterly
(BUSINESS WIRE)....MCI Chair & CEO Bert Roberts spoke with USA
TODAY concerning his company's foray into multimedia.  Roberts
predicted that MCI will "be very different" from the other telcos
by the end of the decade (Kevin Maney, USA TODAY, 5/24).  Today's
WALL STREET JOURNAL examines the telcos' entry into the
entertainment world, noting that "investing in media is about as
sure a bet as gambling in Las Vegas (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/24).

     There is more criticism this morning for the NHL league
office from Canada, this time concerning the decision to have the
Canucks and Blackhawks play back-to-back games in each city this
weekend in order to accommodate Fox's need for a Sunday game.  In
Vancouver, Archie McDonald writes, "The Fox's tail is wagging the
NHL's dog here."  While the other major sports have made
"significant concessions" to TV, "they didn't grovel the way the
NHL seems to be now" (VANCOUVER SUN, 5/24).  In Toronto, Gare
Joyce writes, "The Stanley Cup is supposed to be a showcase for
the best hockey the NHL can offer.  But even the elite teams and
the exemplary players can't perform at a high level given the
demands of consecutive games not 18 hours apart further
complicated by travel across a couple of time zones."  Joyce
writes that, out of respect for the integrity of the game and the
players' well-being, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman "should have
stood up to Fox and told the network two games with travel in
less than 18 hours was not only unreasonable but impossible"
(Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/24).

     Capital Group Companies, Inc., one of the largest
institutional shareholders in CBS Inc., declined to vote its
6.22% stake in favor of management's slate of directors.  Gordon
Crawford, the Capital Group fund manager who oversees most of
their media investments, is said to believe that CBS Chair
Laurence Tisch "dismantled what was once a great communications
empire, and that the company could be performing far better"
(WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/24)....With the Stars out of the NHL
playoffs, ratings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for last Sunday's
Flyers-Rangers game dropped to 0.9 -- the lowest among cities
with NHL franchises (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,  5/23).... The Baseball
Network's Mike Trager says that TBN has signed more than 30
advertisers -- nearly double last year's total, with a dozen more
possible.  Trager argues that ESPN's 32% ratings drop-off isn't
an adequate indicator for TBN's regionalized coverage.  Trager:
"Local baseball ratings aren't off anywhere near ESPN's numbers
(Mike Heistand, USA TODAY, 5/24)....Nintendo, NBC and Blockbuster
will join together on an estimated $5M fall promo to push
Nintendo's new 3D "Virtual Boy" system, drive retail traffic at
Blockbuster and hype NBC's fall lineup (BRANDWEEK, 5/22).