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Volume 24 No. 156

Sports Media

     ESPN will rebroadcast Game 4 of the Stanley Cup on Saturday,
June 15, from 7:30-10:30pm EST with extra interviews and
highlights (NHL)....The IHL Griffins have announced an agreement
with WZZM and WWMT that will provide Western MI hockey fans with
televised coverage of at least 10 Griffins games during the '96-
'97 season.  WZZM will broadcast five games while WWMT will carry
at least five other games (Griffins).....USA TODAY's Rudy Matzke
notes Fox's "disappointing" MLB ratings are 21% below CBS's
numbers for '93, and "more disappointing news" for Fox was last
week's 1.6 rating for Fox's "In the Zone" and 1.2 for their
pregame show (USA TODAY, 6/14).

     NBC, which is selling 30-second ad spots for an average of
$300,000 during the NBA Finals, would miss out on at least $15M
in potential ad revenue if the Bulls win the NBA Championship
tonight, according to the N.Y. POST.  Rights fees for NBC's four-
year contract with the NBA, which runs through '98, are based on
each postseason series averaging five games.  According to one ad
exec who works with NBC, sponsors received "multi-million
dollars" when the Bulls swept the Magic in the Eastern Conference
Finals.  NBC would have suffered a similar loss if the Bulls had
swept the Sonics.  The network figures to "break even" if the
Bulls win tonight, but would profit if the series is extended.
While over the length of a four-year deal, the "gains and losses"
from a single game are "less clear," NBC Sports VP Ed Markey
notes, "There would be an impact if for four years all the
conference championships and the Finals were sweeps" (Mark
McLaughlin, N.Y. POST, 6/14).  Rudy Martzke notes a Game 5 is
worth $10M to NBC.  On the Sonics' win that forced Game 5, NBC
Sports President Dick Ebersol joked: "All the accountants at NBC
have severe hangovers after a wild night of partying" (USA TODAY,
6/14).
     A RATINGS GAME: Michael Hirsley writes from Chicago that
NBC's 18.1 national rating for Game 4 was up 21% from last year's
Game 4, and the Bulls/Sonics average for four games is 16.1.
That is second only to the '93 Bulls/Suns Finals, which averaged
a 17.1 through four games.  Hirsley also notes SportsChannel and
CNBC have been "locked in local cable ratings battles."  CNBC's
ratings have ranged from .2 to 3.2, while SportsChannel has done
between 1.7 and 8.6.  NBA Research shows ratings on Mexico's TV-
Azteca are 17.4, representing 2.5 million viewers, nearly triple
last year's audience.  In Canada, CTV's 4.4 rating represents
500,000 viewers and a 62% increase from '95 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
6/14).

     Prime Sports and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a multi-
year deal expanding the RSN's coverage of the Cardinals to 50
regular season games a year starting in '97 season.  The RSN
reaches more than 800,000 cable homes throughout its Midwest
region, and should near the 1 million subscriber mark later this
year.  Prime Sports has signed Ron Gant to appear in the "I Play
for Prime Sports" promo campaign currently airing in the Midwest
(Prime).

     News from NBC's U.S. Open coverage is focused on comments
made by analyst Johnny Miller.  In a teleconference before the
play began, Miller addressed his commentary style: "Some of the
players view me as a bit of a traitor.  I try to look at
everything I do as what's good for the game and what's
entertaining to the public.  We at NBC treat everybody the same.
We treat them as the top pros they are, but we don't try to build
them up any more than they deserve."  Miller responded to
criticism from Greg Norman, who has claimed Miller is too hard in
his analysis of Tour players.  Miller on Norman: "I feel I've
been fair to Greg Norman.  I say he's the best player in the
world, but I've also said he's had a lot of miscues down the
stretch in majors.  He's been treated really, really specially by
CBS" (Bill Fleischman, PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 6/14).  But the N.Y.
TIMES' Richard Sandomir notes, "Miller may not have seen how NBC
promotes its sports properties.  Everything it broadcasts
resonates with the star treatment" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/14).  USA
TODAY's Rudy Martzke also claimed NBC treated Tiger Woods'
"blowup on the final holes as softly as CBS did Greg Norman's
Masters collapse" (USA TODAY, 6/14).  Phil Mushnick writes that
"CBS is thrilled with Miller.  Word had been out that NBC had a
chance to carry The Masters.  Miller's words could end that.  The
big TV winner from NBC's U.S. Open, this week, could be CBS"
(N.Y. POST, 6/14).  But in Ft. Lauderdale, Rachel Alexander backs
Miller, adding to "expect, finally, some honest coverage, at
least by golf's kid-glove standards" (FT. LAUDERDALE SUN-
SENTINEL, 6/14).
     MARR SIGNS: Dave Marr, who joined NBC Sports golf coverage
last year, agreed to a new multi-year deal (NBC).