The management of Canada's The Sports Network (TSN) "has
lined up partners" in Montreal, Vancouver and the U.S. in a bid
to keep control of the all-sports cable network when Labatt's
ownership ends, according to this morning's GLOBE & MAIL. Labatt
Communications -- TSN, its French counterpart Reseau des Sports,
Dome Productions, ad agency The Rep Shoppe, 80% of the Discovery
Channel, a minority share in PPV outlet Viewer's Choice, and a
35% interest in interactive programmer NTN Canada -- is expected
to go on the block if Belgian brewer, Interbew SA, succeeds in
buying John Labatt Ltd. A source close to ESPN says the U.S.
sports network is among those helping TSN management in its bid.
Others involved: Former Expos Owner Charles Bronfman and
Northwest Entertainment Group, owner of the Canucks, Grizzlies
and GM Place. Canadian interests are thought to control 70% of
the consortium. Grizzlies VP/Commun. Tom Mayenknecht, on behalf
of NEG: "All I can say is that we have been considering options
available to our group in terms of Canadian and international
broadcast properties and partnerships. It is certainly not off-
strategy for our group to be exploring such partnerships."
Labatt's broadcast assets are said to be worth between C$350-
500M. Other bidders: CanWest Global Communications, and Western
Int'l Communications, run by Frank Griffiths, brother of NEG's
Arthur Griffiths (Neil Campbell, GLOBE & MAIL, 6/12).
ANOTHER REGIONAL BID: The GLOBE & MAIL piece also notes
that NEG is exploring a bid to start a regional sports network
featuring Vancouver teams. While TSN "bitterly opposed" an
application filed by CTV last year with the CRTC (Canada's FCC)
to start a series of RSNs called S3, it is believed that TSN
management would "embrace" NEG's planned sports channel. CTV
will reapply for S3 this year, with NEG remaining in touch with
them should the TSN deal fall through (Neil Campbell, Toronto
GLOBE & MAIL, 6/12).
On Friday, officials from ITT termed as "fiction" a N.Y.
POST report that ITT and Barry Diller had made an unsuccessful
run at CBS. The same day, ITT announced that it had sold the
remaining assets in ITT's Financial Division for $5.5B (N.Y.
POST, 6/12)....Salt Lake City's KJZZ-TV, owned by Jazz Owner
Larry Miller, has reached a tentative agreement to carry Ute
football, basketball and gymnastics beginning this fall. KJZZ
already carries the Jazz. KUTV had been the Univ. of Utah's TV
outlet since 1967 (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 6/10).... Fox's NFL slogan
this year will change to "Same game, more attitude" from "Same
game, new attitude" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 6/9)....ESPN has
reportedly contacted former Packers WR Sterling Sharpe to replace
Phil Simms in ESPN's NFL studio. Former Redskin Charles Mann has
also auditioned (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 6/9).... Houston's
KMJQ-FM has changed its name from "Majic 102" to "Clutch City
102" for the duration of the NBA playoffs (HOUSTON CHRONICLE,
6/9)....United Video made its pay-per-view debut Friday with the
Tommy Morrison-Razor Ruddick heavyweight bout. The network was
hoping to attract 300,000 buyers at $29.95 each (ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 6/10)....ESPN's Beano Cook, on SI's cover story
suggesting that Univ. of Miami drop football: "If I am UM, I
would say to Sports Illustrated, we will drop college football
when you drop the swimsuit issue" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/11)....This
morning's N.Y. TIMES profiles new CBS Entertainment head Les
Moonves (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES, 6/12). CBS President Peter
Lund introduced Moonves on the "Late Show." The pair sang a duet
of Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" (CBS, 6/9).