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Volume 24 No. 115

Sports Media

     MLB can now open negotiations with Fox and CBS after ABC and
NBC let Monday's deadline pass without exercising their exclusive
negotiating rights on a new TV rights deal, according to Richard
Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES.  Giants Exec VP Larry Baer, a member
of MLB's TV committee:  "This will be an active week."  Baer said
that the owners' goal is a new deal by month's end (N.Y. TIMES,
10/10).  ESPN is still in its exclusive negotiating period for
cable channels (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 10/10).  In Sunday's
N.Y. TIMES, Phillies President Bill Giles outlines the likely
post-season package under the new deal:  National prime-time
coverage of the divisional series Tuesday-Monday, with no
Thursday off and staggered starts; 13 other games in the
afternoon or late night on cable or the nets; Wednesday, Saturday
and Sunday starts at 1pm, 4 pm, 7pm, and 9 or 10pm.  The LCS
would also have full coverage, but Giles was not sure whether
there would be some cable involved.  Giles, on afternoon games:
"We're willing to take less to market the game.  Exposing more
quality players is of equal importance to money" (Richard
Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 10/9).  In Boston, Jack Craig reports, "It
was anticipation of the furor over dividing LCS coverage that
prompted baseball to announce last Wednesday that all post-season
games will be on television for everyone next season" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 10/8).
     M'S-YANKEES BOOSTS RATINGS:  Sunday's Mariners-Yankees Game
5 did a 13.4 for ABC in Nielsen overnights, after a 10.4 on
Saturday and a 12.4 on Friday.  Jack Craig notes, "It may signify
nothing, but the largest audience of the five nights of
baseball's divisional coverage was on Sunday, when Yankees-
Mariners became a national game" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/10).  Sunday's
game drew a local 23.2 rating and 36 share in New York, with more
than half of NYC TV sets tuned into the final 15 minutes (Josef
Adallan, N.Y. POST, 10/10).

     Broadcast of The John Wooden Classic college basketball
tournament will be split between NBC and ABC.  Liberty Sports,
which has an exclusive production and ad sales agreement with
Atherton Communications, will produce UCLA-Maryland for NBC and
assist Raycom in production of Purdue-Villanova for ABC.  Through
the NBC Super Channel and other international deals, organizers
expect the Wooden Classic to be seen in 80 countries.  Gillette,
Toyota, Dean Witter and NAPA are among the sponsors with multi-
year deals.  The event also has a site on the Internet.  Address:
http:// www.woodenclassic.com (Wooden Classic)....ESPN is set to
roll out its new "SportsCenter" promos on October 16.  The ads
combine sports personalities with SportsCenter on-air and behind-
the-scenes personnel.  The campaign was produced by ESPN ad
agency Wieden & Kennedy.  ESPN Senior VP/Consumer Marketing Judy
Fearing calls it one of their "most ambitious efforts"
(ESPN)....BUSINESS WEEK profiles Delphi, the commercial online
service currently being revamped by News Corp. and MCI.  The new
strategy, which includes use of Fox TV programming and News Corp.
media outlets, is to become "one with the Internet" (BUSINESS
WEEK, 10/16 issue)....News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch holds his
annual meeting today with possible announcements including an
expansion of Fox TV through the purchase of more U.S. TV stations
(REUTERS/VARIETY, 10/9)....SI For Kids has received two "Gold"
Parent's Choice awards, one for the magazine and the other for
its "Encyclopedia" CD-ROM (SI For Kids)....In Philadelphia, Mike
Bruton is critical of the broadcast networks for their lack of
coverage of Grambling coach Eddie Robinson's 400th victory
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/10).... The FTC is expected to take up
consideration of the Time Warner-Turner merger, with the role of
TCI's Liberty Media and its 5% stake in question (N.Y. TIMES,
10/10).

     NBC News will conduct a live interview with O.J. Simpson on
Wednesday night during a three-hour "Dateline" special.  The
interview, which will be conducted by Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric
and air without commercial interruption, will have "no ground
rules" and was agreed upon without payment of any kind, according
to NBC News President Andrew Lack (NBC).  In L.A., Sallie
Hofmeister and Jane Hall note Simpson's "personal and
professional ties" to NBC.  Before his arrest, Simpson was an
analyst on NBC's NFL broadcasts and NBC West Coast President Don
Ohlmeyer is a longtime friend.  But NBC VP/Corporate
Communications Judy Smith said, "There is no quid pro quo for
this interview.  We have no contact with O.J. and no plans to
hire him."  Network sources say it was NBC President Robert
Wright's decision not to sell ads during the interview.  The show
has already drawn complaints by groups such as NOW with
opposition to the idea of Simpson profiting from the trial
already leading cable channels and pay-per-view outlets to
rejecting the idea of a PPV Simpson interview.  Talent agency ICM
also confirmed Monday that they no longer represent Simpson (L.A.
TIMES, 10/10).
     THE O.J. INDUSTRY:  Media critic Ben Bagdikian:  "It sounds
as though the trial that was a soap opera is now going to be an
industry" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/10).  The price tag on an "O.J.
exclusive" was said to be in the range of $11-12M, even though
potential ad revenue is seen as "nil" (J. Max Robins, VARIETY,
10/9).  AD AGE estimates a pay-per-view event could have
generated numbers seen only by heavyweight bouts -- $50 per order
with buy rates between 500,000 and 1 million.  In addition,
analysts believe Simpson-related marketing could generate as much
as $1B in gross media and merchandising sales.  Mark Weiner, Dir
of Research for Medialink Public Relations, on the other big
media events of '95 -- Windows '95 and Disney/Cap Cities:  "Those
were huge stories, but they lasted for about a week.  The O.J.
Simpson story sustained that level for 11 months.  This has just
dwarfed anything we've seen since the Vietnam War" (Mandese &
Jensen, ADVERTISING AGE, 10/9 issue).
     FUTURE HOME?  "Entertainment Tonight" reported on O.J.'s
future, with Black Entertainment Television possibly interested.
BET President Robert Johnson:  "In the black community, there is
a concept of redemption.  So I think O.J. has an avenue where he
can comeback to the mainstream of commercial success" ("ET,"
10/6).