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Volume 24 No. 159

Sports Media

     "Entertainment Tonight's" Mary Hart reported on Playboy's
pay-per-view special "Real Men Don't Watch Pregame," which will
air live from the Bahamas at the same time as Super Bowl XXX
pregame festivities on NBC.  Hart:  "On Super Bowl Sunday, you
could watch a bunch of football analysts go on for a couple of
hours about kicking games and defense, or you could watch
Baywatch's Gina Lee Nolan and a bevy of beauties play their own
game."  The show will feature "competitions" between groups of
women representing the Playboy Playmates, Hooters Restaurant
chain, Hawaiian Tropic, and former NFL Cheerleaders.  Hart said
the PPV special "will put a sexy spin on games you played as a
kid" -- including Twister, tug-of-war, water sports, football
throwing, and the limbo ("ET," 1/17).

     The Golf Channel, celebrating its first anniversary, is
featured in USA TODAY.  TGC is "finally ... beginning to climb,
perhaps not walking as steadily as hoped, but at least on its
feet after some faltering steps," according to Steve Hershey.
Access to the channel and the initial cost proved troublesome at
first, but the network is optimistic a new distribution strategy
will work.  Jon Mandel, Senior VP at Grey Advertising, said what
"hurt them was starting with a pay basis ... They may have upset
potential customers."   Golf Channel President & CEO Joe Gibbs
recently altered the pricing system and made deals with "three
major cable companies" to improve distribution, while ending
their year with 1.4 million subscribers.  Gibbs:  "The pricing
just wasn't working.  If we had understood the rate table at the
beginning we would have gone in another direction."  Now Gibbs
said they will leave it up the cable companies to "market us to
their best advantage."  As far as commercial advertising, Gibbs
said his "goal it to hold commercials to six minutes an hour,"
even though they could run more (USA TODAY, 1/18).  The Golf
Channel is also examined by Dave Shedloski of GOLFWEEK, who
writes Gibbs will continue to try to increase viewership and
fundraising, "scouring the nation's fairways for about $50
million" on top of the original investment of $120M.  Gibbs:
"Turner spent $300 million before CNN broke even, so we don't
think our expenditures are out of line" (GOLFWEEK, 1/13 issue).

     The International Olympic Committee announced another long-
term marketing deal, selling Australian TV rights for the 2000,
2004, 2006 and 2008 Olympic Games to The Seven Network Limited
for an estimated $140M.  The Seven Network Limited also holds TV
rights to the '98 and 2000 Games.  A group led by News Corp.'s
Rupert Murdoch is trying to buy European TV rights for the Games
for over $2B, but the IOC is "said to be looking for more" (AD
AGE ONLINE, 1/18).
     SALT LAKE IS LOVING IT: Murdoch's bid for the European TV
rights is good news to Salt Lake 2002 Olympic organizers. With
Murdoch's $2B bid, they stand to make twice as much money as
anticipated from the sales of the European TV rights.  The
organizing committee originally expected the rights to Europe,
Canada, Australia, Japan and other foreign markets to sell for
$126M (Lisa Roche, DESERET NEWS, 1/17).

     Philip Morris's Kraft Foods is one of "a handful of
advertisers" planning to have a presence on the NFL/NBC Super
Bowl Web site (http://superbowl.com), but "only a few Super Bowl
advertisers have signed up," according to Sally Beatty of the
WALL STREET JOURNAL.  The site's "late start and status as an
untested medium apparently inhibited sales."  Microsoft paid
$225,000 for its title sponsorship and advertisers were "given a
choice of paying either $100,00 for a banner, or four cents every
time a browser views the advertiser's page."  According to Andrew
Batkin, Chair of Interactive Marketing, whose firm is responsible
for superbowl.com site sales, most advertisers "opted for a per-
page rate, and will end up paying prices starting at about
$25,000" (Sally Beatty, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/16).
     PRIMESTAR'S AD STRATEGY:  Primestar, the direct satellite
broadcasting service, will spend nearly $150M on marketing this
year, with their national campaign beginning on Super Bowl Sunday
with two new 30-second spots.  The spots "focus on Primestar's
rental approach, touting 'There's nothing to buy.'"  Primestar
will target the male sports viewer by running spots during NHL
and NBA All-Star Games, along with MLB's All-Star and World
Series telecasts.  Primestar VP/Marketing Dennis Wilkinson said
only 20-25% of their ad money will be sent on sports programming
(Jim McConville, BROADCASTING AND CABLE, 1/15 issue).

     In a "stunning move," Viacom Chair Sumner Redstone fired
longtime friend and CEO Frank Biondi.  Redstone: "Frank's style
is very laid back ... I saw the need for a different style -- the
(Rupert) Murdoch style.  Very aggressive, hands on,
entrepreneurial."  The Viacom board created an executive
committee that includes the heads of Viacom's major businesses
(USA TODAY, 1/18)....HBO's Jones-Sosa fight last Saturday evening
drew a 14.2 rating and a 21 share in homes that have HBO
(HB0)....The NBA's "Inside Stuff" will feature Knicks Coach Don
Nelson this weekend, with a behind-the-scenes look at his recent
GQ "fashion makeover" (NBA Entertainment)....NewSport television
has a crew of reporters in Tempe for Super Bowl XXX for a week-
long series of special programs, interviews, and press
conferences (NewSport)....CBS Sports announced their golf package
for the year.  The network will broadcast 22 events this year,
with The Masters heading the list (CBS Sports)....ESPN has
acquired the worldwide distribution rights for Formula 3 auto
racing from Latin America.  ESPN will distribute 11 Formula 3
races live each year beginning in '96 (ESPN)....Former Bucs Coach
Sam Wyche told Chris Myers of ESPN's "Up Close" that broadcasting
is in his future.  Wyche:  "I've been told this is the road you
should take.  I've always been fascinated with your industry and
I, of course, have been in involved with it on the other side of
the microphone.  I'm going to find out what it looks like from
the other side, too" (ESPN, 1/17)....America Online will provide
a live cybercast of track & field's '96 World Air Games in
February.  AOL will create a first full online promotion of the
event which will take place in Chicago on February 18.  Beginning
February 4, AOL members can access content at keyword "AOL
sports" (World Air Games).