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Volume 24 No. 114

Sports Media

     The Mets and WFAN-AM have agreed to a two-year extension of
their partnership.  The deal that expires this year paid the Mets
$28M over five years or $5.6M per year.  But since baseball and
the Mets are not "as hot as they once were," Phil Mushnick
reports that the new contract is for "considerably less money per
season" (N.Y. POST, 8/25).  In Chicago, the Bears decided to
renew with WGN-AM for three more years with the price as high as
$6M per year, making the Bears "easily the top NFL team in radio
revenue."  Infinity Broadcasting and Evergreen Media were
reportedly also in the bidding.  The Bears' current three-year
WGN deal is for $4.5M per year (Steve Nidetz, CHICAGO TRIBUNE,

     Turner Broadcasting had no comment on an ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION report yesterday that Microsoft was close to
investing $1B in the company (DAILY VARIETY, 8/25).  But
Microsoft Chair Bill Gates said there is a "good chance" there
won't be any agreement (N.Y. POST, 8/25).  REUTERS is reporting
that French media company Havas SA may join TBS in a bid for CBS
(WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/25)....Former Fox and QVC exec Barry Diller
is said to be preparing a bid for Silver King Communications --
owner of 12 UHF stations, many of which run home shopping
programming -- with plans to use them as a "backbone" of a new
network (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25). ...The New York Times Co. Magazine
Group will launch "@PLAY" on The Microsoft Network with coverage
from their magazines, including GOLF DIGEST, TENNIS, GOLF SHOP
TENNIS BUYER'S GUIDE.  "@PLAY" kicks off during the U.S. Open
(NYT Magazine Group)....Sports Illustrated is going back to press
on its August 21 edition which featured a black-and-white cover
shot of Mickey Mantle (SI)....Churchill Downs Inc., ODS
Technologies and TKR Cable in Louisville debuted an interactive
wagering system that allows consumers to watch races at home and
wager through their cable box (Churchill Downs)....Howie Rose,
the announcer for the Rangers on WFAN and MSG Network, will move
to call Islander games on SportsChannel next year.  Kenny Albert,
who calls the Caps on HTS and is the son of Rangers announcer
Marv Albert, has been mentioned as a replacement on MSG (NEWSDAY,
8/25).... With the Packers ending their relationship with County
Stadium, Milwaukee is no longer considered a "home market" for
the team, meaning that Packer appearances on ESPN and TNT will be
offered on free TV only in Green Bay (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL,
8/25)....ABC's Keith Jackson said the network will be more
restrained in showing end-zone antics by college players this

     NBC said that it will refuse to waive its exclusive
negotiating period of 45 days with MLB, which starts today.
While a statement from the network said there would be "no
further comment," the announcement was seen "purely as a legal
move and was not expected to signal any renewed interest in
bidding for baseball by NBC."  ABC similarly refused to waive its
rights, but is said to be interested in re-bidding (WASHINGTON
POST, 8/25).  NBC's strategy most likely is to keep Fox and CBS
away until negotiations open on October 9 (Rudy Martzke, USA
TODAY, 8/25).
     THE GRAND PLAN:  Hal Bodley reports that MLB's TV committee
met with chief negotiator Barry Frank in New York on Wednesday
and decided that their next contract will include two over-the-
air networks and two cable outlets, similar to the NFL (USA
TODAY, 8/25).

     Seth Abraham, President of Time Warner Sports, met with
reporters to give his version of the November 4 pay-per-view
dispute as well as a history lesson on Don King.  Time Warner's
TVKO has Bowe-Holyfield set for Caesar's, while King and Showtime
Entertainment Television are likely to stage Mike Tyson against
Buster Mathis at MGM Grand -- both on November 4.  Abraham said
that in negotiating over rights to Tyson in the '80s, King wanted
HBO to give in on Tyson's request that analyst Larry Merchant not
work any Tyson fights.  He compares that to the present, and said
King is misjudging him and Time Warner.  Abraham:  "We're in the
boxing business.  Showtime is in the Don King business."  Bob
Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS:  "This issue of Nov. 4 gets more
bizarre by the day -- even by boxing's twisted standards" (N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, 8/25).  Richard Sandomir calls it "filthy fun" and
reports that Showtime and partner MGM Grand "cannot persuade"
King to change dates and that it is Tyson co-manager John Horne,
not King, who "refuses to see how much more money can be made" by
moving Tyson-Mathis to December.  King, on Abraham:  "He's trying
to restrain trade and make people submit to him because he's the
biggest and baddest on the block" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25).