The NHL's partnership with IBM led CBC's "Hockey Night in
Canada" to scuttle plans for a playoff-based Web site. The
problem, according to CBC's Tom Curzon, was not the NHL, but
rather CBC partner Microsoft, which withdrew upon learning of the
NHL's IBM ties (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/25).... ESPN and ESPN2 begin
their coverage of the U.S. Olympic trials this Saturday
(ESPN)....In Atlanta, Charles Haddad examines the transition of
TNT to a channel aimed at younger viewers. Haddad notes live
sports programming has become TNT's "most popular offering"
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/25). ....The Dodgers launch their
official Web site, "Dodgers On-Line," at Dodger Stadium today.
The site was designed by the team in conjunction with Only
Multimedia Network. In addition to standard team Web site fare
(info, press releases, scoreboard, etc.), the Dodgers mirror the
international feel of their ballclub with areas in five
languages: Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and
English. Address: http://www.dodgers.com (Dodgers)....
Indianapolis station WNDY-TV, owned by the same people who run
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, namely IMS and IRL President
Tony George, will only report on the Indy 500 over the next
month, ignoring CART's rival U.S. 500 to be held in MI on the
same day. WNDY Sports Dir Vince Welch: "To us, that's the only
race going on that day. That was not an edict, it was just a
choice we made." Other local stations will cover both
(INDIANAPOLIS NEWS-STAR, 4/25).... Westinghouse Chair & CEO
Michael Jordan said he expects CBS to be "solidly on track"
financially by the time of the '98 Nagano Winter Games (HOLLYWOOD
The NBA's national cable outlets, TNT and TBS, head into the
playoffs with average season ratings up 22% (2.0, the highest
average since '89-90), and NBC says when it releases its ratings
today, it will "equal or better" last year's 5.2 average (Tim
Tyers, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/25). NBC will carry at least 22 NBA
playoff games, and as many as 35 (NBC Sports). In Atlanta,
Prentis Rogers writes that, despite the recent "rash" of referee-
baiting incidents in the NBA, both Turner and NBC "seemed assured
of having another great playoff run" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
JAZZ-OUT: In Salt Lake, Scott Pierce notes the Jazz will
not be on national TV: "It's all about ratings. And it's the
reason the Jazz made no regular-season appearances on NBC at all"
(DESERET NEWS, 4/24).
MICHAEL'S DAY OFF: In Baltimore, Milton Kent notes that
Michael Jordan was excused from a scheduled pre-playoff telephone
news conference, "citing an unspecified emergency." Kent notes
past Jordan snubs and Bulls Coach Phil Jackson's observation --
"The emergency is the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day in
Chicago." He writes, "Jordan has repeatedly shown disdain for
any media-related function that doesn't directly lead to
feathering his already bloated financial nest" (Baltimore SUN,
The NFL released its '96 schedule yesterday, typically of
more interest to network execs than fans at this time of the
year. Fox immediately began hyping its October 27 match-up
between Jimmy Johnson's Dolphins and the Cowboys. Also, for the
third straight year, Fox will have a Cowboys-49ers matchup in
November (Fox Sports). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke notes Fox "won
out" over ABC's "Monday Night Football" in getting the Jimmy-
Jerry rematch. The only "frowns and shrugs" came from Turner,
where they will show a nine-game Sunday night schedule. TNT's
teams combined for a .472 winning percentage last year, compared
to ESPN's teams, which averaged a .503. Turner Exec Producer
Mike Pearl, on their draw: "It's not pleasant to look at."
ESPN's Chris LaPlaca accused TNT execs of having "too much time
on their hands." NFL broadcast head/schedule-maker Val Pinchbeck
said of the networks' overall reactions: "You'd like to go 5-0.
I'll take 4-1" (USA TODAY, 4/25).