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Volume 24 No. 115

Sports Media

     The Rockets are looking to offer tomorrow night's playoff
game against the Spurs for a reduced pay-per-view price at UH's
Hofheinz Pavilion.  Cable customers have to pay $19.95 for the
game, while those who go to UH would only have to pay $6 (HOUSTON
CHRONICLE, 5/24)....John McEnroe expects to sign with CBS to do
the U.S. Open....CBS' Jim Nantz denied that he is being sought by
TNT for NBA and NFL broadcasts...TNT is averaging a 6.4 for the
NBA conference finals, 57% better than last year and 5% better
than '93 (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 5/24)....According to Time
Warner Senior VP Lou DiBella, Evander Holyfield's fight with Ray
Mercer on TVKO last Saturday was bought by 250,000 homes, a buy
rate of 1%.  DiBella:  How many guys can draw 250,000 for a non-
title, 10-round fight?" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
5/24)....Baltimore's WNUV (Channel 54) will carry six to seven
Baltimore CFL games, a deal which WNUV Dir of Sales and Marketing
Robert Epstein believes will be the "linchpin" for the station's
growing sports coverage.  The station, which also carries the
Orioles, will pick up feeds from the CBC or the Sunshine Network
(Baltimore SUN, 5/24)....Imax Corp., the 3-D movie theater
company which was purchased by venture capitalists Brad Wechlser
and Richard Gelfond in March, is undergoing an expansion of 40
theaters worldwide.  An Imax screen in New York grossed $100,442
in its first three-day weekend (FORTUNE, 6/12 issue)....The Rams
have chosen St. Louis' Fox affiliate, KTVI-Channel 2 to carry
their exhibition games (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/25).

     With attendance and local cable and TV ratings all down, MLB
owners hope The Baseball Network "not only will draw viewers back
but also pump millions into the 28 teams," according to USA
TODAY's Hal Bodley.  The current estimate:  $5-7M a team this
year.  Paul Schulman, president of Paul Schulman Co., whose
agency represents clients such as Ralston-Purina and ITT
Sheraton:  "All we've read about ESPN and local [ratings] doesn't
mean a thing to The Baseball Network.  TBN begins on July 11 with
the All-Star Game.  It's going to be the highest rating of the
summer.  Last year's game was a huge success, and this year will
be even bigger."  Phillies President Bill Giles, chair of the
owners' TV commitee, says TBN's spots are selling for twice as
much as CBS got in the final year of their contract.  TBN has
sold $135M in ads at $330,000 per :30 -- $20,000 more than last
year's rate.  Still, since TBN is unlikely to reach its two-year
$330M sales goal, owners will vote on August on whether to
continue with TBN.  Giles: "We've scheduled three or four
meetings over the next three weeks to discuss what direction we
should go" (USA TODAY, 5/25).