Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 160

Sports Media

     Manitoba-based CanWest Global Communications, headed by NHL
Jets suitor Izzy Asper, said yesterday that it is "counting
itself out of any bidding war for John Labatt Ltd.'s broadcasting
properties," according to this morning's FINANCIAL POST.  But
industry sources believe CanWest may still be a potential bidder,
and some say the firm has already offered C$550M for The Sports
Network and The Discovery Channel.  CanWest Deputy Dir of
Corporate Development Greg Gilhooly:  "Not true."  Gilhooly said
they were rebuffed on their bids for the stations, and consider
themselves only a "buyer of last resort."  Sources say the
remaining bidders include Vancouver-based Western International
Communications Ltd. (WIC), Toronto-based Baton Broadcasting and a
group led by current TSN management (Michael Urlocker, FINANCIAL
POST, 6/15).  In Vancouver, David Baines notes that WIC "has the
financial capacity" -- the company showed C$100M in cash flow in
'94 and projects C$120M for '95 -- but also notes that "there is
no assurance TSN will maintain its monopoly" (VANCOUVER SUN,
6/17).

     The NHL's decision to carry Stanley Cup playoff games in the
afternoon "has been a ratings bust" for CBC, according to the
CANADIAN PRESS.  Only two of seven matinee games have drawn more
than 1 million viewers.  CBC Sports spokesperson Susan Proctor:
"Evening numbers on the whole are about a million higher."  NHL
VP of Broadcasting Glenn Adamo:  "We're trying to grow this sport
on a whole bunch of levels in both countries. ... [But] there are
weights on both sides that we have to keep playing with" (OTTAWA
CITIZEN, 6/15)....When it comes to lower ad revenue for MLB
broadcasters, "radio has been hit harder than TV," according to
ADWEEK.  The Marlins' WQAM-AM has seen a 40% drop in ad sales
from '94, according to Exec Dir of Sales Ray Perry.  But Ted
Ewanciw of HTS, the regional sports network arm of Group W Sports
Marketing and Orioles cable outlet, reports that they are all
sold out.  In fact, Group W Senior VP & GM Bob Kunath cites a 7-
10% increase in O's ad revenues (ADWEEK, 6/12 issue)....Primestar
Partners President & CEO John Cusick resigned last week.
Primestar Chair Jim Gray will act as CEO until a new president is
found (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 6/12 issue).  Primestar will serve
as video supplier to this week's U.S. Open.  Coverage of the
tournament will be shown on 200 on-site TVs via Primestar's
satellite service (Primestar)....ESPN's June 19 edition of
"Outside the Lines" focuses on the phenomenon and impact of
sports talk radio (ESPN)....Starting today, tennis fans will be
able to access information on Wimbledon on a World Wide Web site
jointly established by the All England Lawn Tennis Club and IBM.
Address:  http://www.wimbledon.org (IBM).

     When it comes to TV viewership, "other sports just can't
compete" with the NFL, according to an analysis of the sport in
the current ADWEEK.  Glenn Macnow writes, "The game practically
sells itself.  The product is so good, the demographics so
strong, that the best way to broadcast the NFL is just to turn on
the cameras and stay out of the way."  Weeks before the NFL
selling season opens, sources from the five nets that carry the
league predict ad rates 15-20% above '94.  Factors cited:
Increased competition among advertisers, last year's high
ratings, Fox's "strengthening" in many markets, and residual
effects of the baseball strike.  Fox President of Sales Jon
Nesvig:  "It could be the best market since 1975-76."  Sources
say TNT has raised rates about 20%, putting the cost of a 30-
second spot on the smallest network carrying the NFL at around
$75,000.  Fox looks to benefit from last year's "wait-and-see"
strategy, which allowed sponsors to sign on for one year rather
than the usual four-year deals.  Given the market, one media
buyer predicted Fox "will now go after people hammer and tong."
Fox typically charged $110,000 per 30-second last year.  The '95
season should also be "profitable" for NBC, which has rights to
Super Bowl XXX as well as the L.A. market to itself with the Rams
gone (ADWEEK, 6/12 issue).