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Volume 24 No. 116

Sports Media

     With the IOC decision on Canadian TV rights to the Nagano
'98 Games due on Thursday, the fee is expected to be higher than
the C$16M CTV paid for the Lillehammer Games -- "but by how much
is speculation."  Based on the price rise for CBS, Canadian
rights should be at C$20M.  But CTV VP of Sports Doug Beeforth
"says that is far too high."  Beeforth:  "The Canadian market
can't sustain that and that's the only ballpark we play in."  CBC
officials withheld comment until the IOC's decision, but CTV VP
of Development Gary Mavaara argued, "We're not suggesting the CBC
should be out of the Olympics or sports, but they shouldn't use
the taxpayer cushion to escalate the bid."  CTV paid C$4.5M for
the rights to Calgary '88, while the CBC paid $11.7M for
Albertville (James Christie, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/30).  In
Calgary, TV columnist Bob Blakey writes that it is time for the
CBC to get out of sports broadcasting.  Blakey: "Isn't it the job
of a 'public broadcaster' to give us programs that can't or won't
be produced by private networks and stations?" (CALGARY HERALD,

     In Denver, Dusty Saunders reports that KKFN-AM (The Fan) has
the "inside track" to broadcast rights to the soon-to-be-renamed
Nordiques when they move to Denver next year.  Jefferson Pilot-
owned KKFN, which carries the Nuggets, also owned by COMSAT, has
the rights to first refusal on the hockey team.  On the TV side,
Prime Sports "already is displaying interest" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NEWS, 5/29).
     HOCKEY'S ON-AIR PARTNERS:  The NHL moved up the start of the
Western Conference Final two days to Thursday, with the Eastern
Final starting on Saturday.  NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur
Pincus said the decision was made because CBC preferred to carry
the Eastern Final on Saturday night because of the ratings draw
of the Flyers' Eric Lindros.  Pincus, on Fox, ESPN and CBC:  "We
have three national carriers with equal weight.  We try to make
the schedule so the maximum number of people can see the maximum
number of games" (Davis Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/30).

     A NY State Supreme Court ruling that Prodigy "is a publisher
and may be sued for libel could have a far-reaching impact on how
much other online services try to regulate all kinds of content"
(Michelle Slatalla, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 5/27)....SportsChannel New
England VP & GM Marc Edwards denied rumors that the RSN will
close its Woburn, MA, office and move its operations out of the
region.  Edwards:  "If anything, we're looking to expand our
local programming" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/26)....Rupert Murdoch's News
Corp. is considering buying its own TV satellite to launch
digital TV service over Europe (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/28).... NBC is
studying the possibility of beaming broadcasts into Japan via
satellite (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/28).

     Less than ten months after recombining TCI with his Liberty
Media programming company, TCI Chair John Malone is looking to
split the two entities again, according to Allan Sloan in the
current NEWSWEEK.  Liberty's holdings include Prime and Prime's
regional sports channels, as well as TCI's 24% share in Turner
Broadcasting.  The split would not be in the form of two
companies, but "two separate targeted stocks" -- one called TCI
and one Liberty.  The idea, according to Sloan:  "The cable and
programming stocks will fetch a higher total price than TCI,
which trades at its 1989 price level. ... Having become a major
TCI shareholder with his Liberty machinations, [Malone is] trying
to goose TCI's share price by carving up the company's stock
without carving up the company.  If that works, TCI will be
better able to fight the phone companies" (NEWSWEEK, 6/5 issue).