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Volume 24 No. 115

Sports Media

     MLB's TV committee is negotiating "with these three basic
points in mind," according to Glenn Dickey of the S.F. CHRONICLE.
No regionalization of broadcasts; returning game of the week
telecasts; and starting weekend playoff games earlier to allow
children to watch (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/13).  In Boston, Jack Craig
reports that Fox reportedly would like to bring back the Saturday
"Game of the Week" for afternoon telecasts, but "would insist"
that there be no competition of local telecasts.  Craig notes
that a Fox deal would move all other games to Saturday nights
(BOSTON GLOBE, 10/13).  In San Jose, Colin Seymour writes that
for "day games, networks and affiliates don't want any. Cable
giants do ... ESPN would love to fill the daytime baseball void"
(SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/13).

     "Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at the lack of taste
shown by TNT in the billboard ads for its NFL telecasts.
....Almost as bothersome is a series of ESPN ads for its college
football telecasts," notes a report in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
"Scorecard."  The TNT campaign has a photo of a "battered" player
with an oxygen mask with the tagline: "Shortness of breath.
Nausea.  Disorientation.  Memory loss.  The fun begins at 8pm
Sunday night."  The ads were eventually pulled, but "Scorecard"
notes it is another case where "violence sells."  ESPN's ads with
Lee Corso, Chris Fowler and Craig James surrounding "Lester" a
college football player taking a test are also criticized: "For a
network that has shown sensitivity in dealing with issues that
arise off the field, making light of the pressures put on college
athletes is just not very funny" (SI, 10/16).

     ESPN's Bonnie Bernstein was profiled in the PHILA. DAILY
NEWS.  Lynn Zinser writes that "one of ESPN's biggest strengths"
is finding new talent such as the 25-year-old Bernstein
(PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/12)....Nearly one-third of IHL games
will be televised this season, that's up from two years ago, when
the league only had 10% of its games on television (IHL)....Mike
Piazza will be an in-studio guest on the FX Sports Show this
Sunday.   The show, hosted by Jim Rome and Kevin Frazier, airs at
11pm ET (FX)....Fox Sports reports that 700,000 viewers responded
to an on-screen announcement toting their internet address during
October 8th's NFL coverage.  The site features stats, features
and highlights (Gould Media)....The Devil Rays and WFLA-AM in
Tampa announced a partnership to jointly plan and promote events
between now and '98.  The station will air selected Devil Rays
minor league games.  WFLA officials say the deal gives them "a
chance to prove" themselves (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/13)....The St.
Paul Saints will be featured Sunday on "60 Minutes" (Minneapolis
STAR-TRIBUNE, 10/13).

     Today:  The NFL, week 7.
     The following NFL games failed to sellout for this weekend
and will be blacked out in their home markets:
     GAME                          LOCAL TIME        NETWORK
     Seattle at Buffalo            1:00                NBC
     Minnesota at Tampa Bay        1:00                Fox
     Miami at New Orleans          3:00                NBC
     Washington at Arizona         1:00                Fox
     N.Y. Jets at Carolina         4:00                NBC

     HBO "is close to signing multi-million-dollar deal" with WBO
welterweight champion Pernell "Sweetpea" Whitaker, according to
John Phillips in this morning's VARIETY.  Phillips reports that
HBO head Seth Abraham said the deal would be for six-to-eight
fights, but would not disclose terms.  Phillips writes that
sources say Whitaker     "could make at least" $20M and
"considerably more" if he were to fight Julio Caesar Chavez,
Felix Trinidad or Oscar de La Hoya (REUTERS/VARIETY, 10/13).
Whitaker, at a news conference promoting his November 18 fight,
"was caught off guard" by the deal with HBO.  Promoter Dan Duva
called the deal "one of the largest contracts outside of the
heavyweight division" (AP/WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/13).

     The arrival of Pat Riley into the Heat organization "has
brightened the outlook for the Heat's TV carriers," the  Sunshine
Network and WBFS-Ch 33, according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI
HERALD.  WBFS-Ch. 33 GM Jerry Carr said ad sales for Heat games
"are substantially further ahead of where we were last year.  I
think there was a problem with the old ownership, it was a
difficult sell."  Sunshine reports similarly "swift sales."
Jackson also writes the Heat are "angry" at flagship station
WINZ-AM/Miami for not agreeing to simulcast their games on sister
station WFTL, which reaches listeners in parts of Broward and
Palm Beach Counties.  Jackson reports that unless WINZ changes
its position, the team "will explore leaving WINZ when its
contract expires after three years" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/13)