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Volume 24 No. 156

Sports Media

     CBS's telecast of the Daytona 500 Sunday drew a 6.5 rating
and a 16 share in preliminary overnight ratings, according to
Nielsen Sports Marketing.  The following is a market-by-market
analysis (Nielsen Sports Marketing).
     MARKET         RATING/SHARE        MARKET      RATING/SHARE
     ATLANTA        10.7/24             MILWAUKEE      5.5/14
     BALTIMORE       5.5/13             MINNEAPOLIS    7.5/19
     BOSTON          5.5/14             NEW YORK       3.1/8
     CHICAGO         4.6/11             ORLANDO       19.7/42
     CINCINNATI      7.7/19             PORTLAND       5.7/16
     CLEVELAND       5.9/13             PHILADELPHIA   7.9/17
     CHARLOTTE      19.6/41             PITTSBURGH     8.7/19
     WASHINGTON      8.4/21             PHOENIX        7.3/20
     DETROIT         6.1/13             SAN ANTONIO    4.7/12
     DALLAS          5.1/13             SAN DIEGO      4.3/13
     DENVER          6.8/22             SEATTLE        4.7/13
     HOUSTON         5.1/12             SAN FRANCISCO  4.1/13
     HARTFORD        9.8/22             SALT LAKE      9.7/22
     INDIANAPOLIS   13.1/26             SACRAMENTO     7.1/20
     KANSAS CITY     8.4/22             TAMPA         10.3/25
     LOS ANGELES     4.2/12             WEST PALM      8.9/22
     MIAMI           4.7/13             TOTAL AVG.     6.5/16

     CNN Sports Exec Producer Jim Walton said CNN/SI, the new 24-
hour sports news channel, will "absolutely not" try to take from
ESPN's talent.  Walton: "Our infrastructure is in place.  We're
not in the raiding business" (USA TODAY, 2/21).  VARIETY reports
that NFL Properties President Sara Levinson is the "chief choice"
to take the top job at the new sports channel (VARIETY, 2/12-18
issue).  CNN will own 75% of the channel, with SI holding 25%.
Officials "are not disclosing start-up costs or distribution
goals," nor a projected break-even point.  Local system
programmer Phil Laxar notes, while "it is difficult to launch a
sports news service currently because of the channel-capacity
crunch, it is an area that I think there is an opportunity in,
longer term."  However, Laxar did say it is harder to justify
another sports channel "when you have other genres that are
underrepresented" (Rich Brown, BROADCASTING & CABLE, 2/19).

     In releasing their schedule of 125 Braves games this season,
TBS is "expecting a rise in advertising revenue of 25% locally
and at least 10% nationally" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
2/21)....Former NBC producer Harry Coyle died of heart failure in
Iowa.  He was considered the "father of baseball broadcasting"
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/21).  NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol,
on Coyle:  "He probably brought more sporting joy into more
households than any other American" (Baltimore SUN, 2/21)....WWJ-
AM in Detroit announced it will carry the U.S. 500 at Michigan
Int'l Speedway, and not the Indy 500.  WWJ-AM had been the only
Detroit radio outlet carrying the Indy 500.  Sources tell the
DETROIT NEWS that ESPN is expected to announce plans to cover
pole qualifying May 11 (DETROIT NEWS, 2/21).... Dennis Rodman
will be a studio guest during TNT's coverage of Orlando-Indiana
(USA TODAY, 2/21)....Steve Burke, 37-year old President of Euro-
Disney, has been named Exec VP at Cap Cities/ABC, the No. 2 post
reporting to Chair Robert Iger.  Burke had been with Disney since
'86 (N.Y. POST, 2/21).... The L.A. TIMES reports Cap Cities/ABC
is considering NBC's Jamie McDermott to be President of ABC
Entertainment (L.A. TIMES, 2/21)....Barry Diller is profiled in
the current issue of TIME.  Diller intends to build his Silver
King network "from the bottom up with local programming -- a
national network of distinct and separate voices" (NEWSWEEK, 2/26
issue).  Diller is lure Fox Senior Exec Doug Binzak to assist in
marketing and scheduling (VARIETY, 2/12-18).... The "demise" of
UNLV has affected the Big West's TV opportunities.  Since '89,
the conference has been on ESPN's Big Monday package, but ESPN
has reduced the Big West's schedule from eight to four and has
not guaranteed any Big Monday games next season (Jason Reid, L.A.
TIMES, 2/19).

     Cablevision Systems Corp. of Long Island decided not to
offer Ultimate Fighting Championships this past Friday.  The only
other U.S. cable operator that reportedly does not offer the
bouts is InterMedia of San Francisco.  Peter Low, VP/Programming
for Cablevision: "The government has called on media companies to
act more responsibly to respond to violence on television
programs.  That's what we've done."  Ultimate Fighting had put a
full-page ad in Long Island's Newsday to urge viewers to call the
office of CEO Jim Dolan to demand the show (Jeanne Cooper,
NEWSDAY, 2/21).

     Ted Turner at one point considered cancelling the Goodwill
Games scheduled for New York in Summer '98, according to Neal
Travis of the N.Y. POST.  Sources report Turner "has been
operating with a particularly short fuse" as he awaits approval
of the Time Warner merger, and "there was some squabbling about
the Goodwill Games format."  According to a source, "Ted wasn't
getting his way and he basically said to hell with it."  But with
his newly planned CNN/SI 24-hour sports channel, staging the
Games "makes more economic sense than they have in the past."  A
spokesperson for TBS denied any threats of cancellation, but said
the TBS board did "approve some format changes."  The
spokesperson added, "We're not really behind schedule.  We have 2
1/2 years to get the event scheduled" (N.Y. POST, 2/21).

     For MLB teams, it's time to transition from Hot Stove to theHopes of April.  But if you want the latest info online, MLB's"Major League Baseball @BAT" may not be the best place to check.The league's official Web site(http://www.majorleaguebaseball.com) is still in World Seriesmode.  Better off heading to the official team sites, of whichthere are nine.  MLB's online teams:               Blue Jays (http://www.bluejays.ca/bluejays/);               Braves (http://www.atlantabraves.com);               Cardinals (http://www.stlcardinals.com);               Giants (http://www.sman.com);               Indians (http://www.indians.com);               Mariners (http://www.mariners.org);               Marlins (http://www.pwr.com/Marlins);               Pirates (http://www.pirateball.com/pws014.htm);               Tigers (http://bigweb.com/mall/tig/);               Yankees (http://www.yankees.com)     KEY FEATURES:  The Giants' "Virtual Dugout" has a link tothe homepage for the "Yes on B" ballpark initiative in SanFrancisco at http://www.webgal.com:80/giants.  Inside is a 3Dversion of the ballpark and links to the campaign. The newssection in the Pirates' site makes no mention of the team's newownership, but the Cards' "Welcome" page mentions new owners,grass at Busch Stadium and the Web site among changes this off-season.  The Mariners' "Home Plate" has a page devoted entirelyto Ken Griffey Jr.  "Marlins On-Line" has a Fan Forum with teampresident Don Smiley.  The Indians page features sponsorships byAll Sport, McDonald & Company Investments, Sherwin-Williams, andStop 'n Shop.  The A's site has ad space available on thehomepage.     ONE-STOP SURFING:  For all unofficial MLB and all otherbaseball links, see "John Skilton's Baseball Links" athttp://www.ssnet.com/%7ESkilton/baseball.html (THE DAILY).