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Volume 24 No. 115

Sports Media

     The criticism continues of The Baseball Network's
regionalized playoff coverage -- Divisional and League
Championship playoff games all played simultaneously with fans
seeing only one.  In Boston, Jack Craig -- who calls the setup
the "final insult of The Baseball Network" --reports that in the
time since the strike "a few owners inquired about cable, but the
top network carriers, NBC and ABC, nixed the idea, not wanting
their advertising rates skewed by far cheaper spots available on
cable."  One cable exec who spoke with acting MLB Commissioner
Bud Selig on the possibility of putting some games on cable "came
away with a better understanding on how the PR disaster has come
to be.  He said Selig did not comprehend the long reach major
cable channels have with sports fans" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).
     AD SALES:  TBN has sold about 75-80% of commercial time for
its playoff broadcasts, according to a number of ad agency execs
cited by INSIDE MEDIA.  One newcomer to TBN is McDonald's (INSIDE
MEDIA, 9/20-10/3 issue).
     THE PLACE TO GO?  CBS Radio will broadcast games
simultaneously -- four games during the Divisional Playoffs and
two games during the LCS (CBS Radio).

     The $7.5B Turner-Time Warner merger may face another
lawsuit.  Continental Cablevision is considering action to secure
the same terms received by TCI in exchange for its shares in TBS
(N.Y. POST, 9/26).  Meanwhile, US West, which has already filed
suit over the deal, is considering joining the Baby Bells
involved in Tele-TV.  That move could violate US West's "non-
compete" clause in its partnership with Time Warner (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 9/26)....HBO Sports will debut "Rebels with a Cause:
The Story of the American Football League" in December.  Fox's
John Madden is serving as a consultant on the project
(HBO)....Tom Marsillo, Local Sales manager at SportsChannel New
York, reports that ad sales for the Devils are up 10%.  Among the
newcomers buying time:  PaineWebber, SkyTel and Six Flags/Great
Adventure.  Renewals include:  A-B, Discover, GMC Trucks,
American Airlines, Volvo and the U.S. Postal Service (INSIDE
MEDIA, 9/20-10/3). ....Grant Hill makes an appearance on NBC's
Saturday morning series "Hang Time" on October 7 (NBC)....Steve
Zipay notes that NFL officials are "touchy" about anything
related to gambling -- and that includes the Taco Bell spots on
the Hakeem-Shaq match-up which ran during NFL games Sunday.  The
ads had a "Trump Taj Mahal" logo.  Zipay notes that Fox's promos
for Tyson-Mathis will have an "MGM Grand" logo (NEWSDAY,
9/26)....Chronicle Publishing, owner of the San Francisco
Chronicle, said it has no plans to sell its interest in the paper
to Hearst (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/26)....MCI is petitioning
Congress and the FCC to have an auction for the last remaining
license to provide DBS.  Analysts estimate the license could
bring in as much as $300M.  MCI would then join DirecTV,
Primestar and USSB in DBS business (WASHINGTON POST, 9/26)....CBS
is expected to renew its U.S. Open contract with the rights fee
averaging $30M a year (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 9/26).... WGN
will use its home page on the World Wide Web for another
"webcast" of a Cubs game Thursday at 1pm CDT.  Address:
http://www. wgntv.com (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/26).

     With the Kings' recent move to cable in Sacramento and
surrounding areas, only three NBA teams are without cable
packages -- the Pacers, Bucks and Clippers -- and that list could
soon shorten to two.  According to the INDIANAPOLIS STAR, the
Pacers are reportedly working on deals with at least two cable
companies in the Indianapolis area to provide broadcasts of 20-30
games.  Of the Pacers' 82 games, 30 are committed to WTTV-TV and
five to NBC.  Cable could pick up as many as 30 of the remaining
games.  However, with the Pacers reporting a $3.1M loss in '93-
94, a cable deal is not believed to be "the difference between
them making money and not making money," according to Patrick
Early, President of Indianapolis' Capital Improvement Board,
which operates Market Square Arena.  Pacers Dir of Broadcasting
Larry Mago expects cable to provide "significant" revenue, but
should the team make deals with all cable companies within their
75-mile radius broadcast rights area at 15 cents monthly per
subscriber (the figure cited by several local cable execs), they
are only looking at $1M or more.  In addition, the team is
negotiating on a share of revenues from ads sold during the
broadcasts.  Local media buyer Diane Nichols-Hayde said a 30-
second spot during games on WTTV go for as much as $1,200, but
she had no estimate for how much those rates would be on cable
(Mary Francis, INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/26).
     GROUP W EXPANDS ITS NBA FAMILY:  Group W Sports Marketing
has signed a multi-year agreement with the Bucks to handle
national and local TV ad sales for all Bucks games, which are
carried on WVTV-TV in Milwaukee.  WVTV will carry 35 regular
season games and playoff games.  Production responsibilities will
also be handled by GWSM as part of the agreement (Group W Sports
Marketing).

     Reviews are in for NBC's handling of the Ryder Cup.  In New
York, Richard Sandomir calls the event "the perfect televised
golf tournament" and says "NBC's production usually captured its
essence."  He does note, however, that NBC's on-course reporters
"faltered in some of their interview work" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/26).
In Boston (where NBC got its top rating -- a 7.3 overall), Jack
Craig writes, "Blessed are the announcers who say little and shun
adjectives, and that was the case in spades for all of the Ryder
Cup telecasts" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).  GOLF DIGEST  Senior Editor
Peter McCleery, in a piece carried on The Microsoft Network,
writes that NBC Producer Tommy Roy "basically needed to show more
golf and eliminate some of the fluff."  McCleery also was
critical of NBC's interviewers, writing, "Too bad [SI's Rick]
Reilly can't stick around to do interviews of players, because
NBC's other crew members are hopeless" (The Microsoft Network).
Jimmy Roberts:  "It was three days of pure sport, with hardly a
logo to be found" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/25).