TV SPORTS MARKETPLACE: TOO CROWDED OR FEEDING HUNGRY FANS?
The "crowded" sports TV marketplace is examined by
Bruce Orwall of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Orwall: "Is
anybody watching this stuff? Niche markets they may be, but
fans' hunger for a wealth of sports programming shows no
sign of abating. Certainly, big money is betting it won't."
While some "critics may complain about the surfeit of
sports, veteran TV sports programmers say they've heard it
all before." ABC Sports President/ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein:
"Everyone's concerned that we're slicing the pie thinner.
Our experience has been that we have expanded the pie."
The JOURNAL's Orwall notes "the actual viewership of cable
sports programs isn't reliably tracked. But some see the
audience expanding in surprising ways." ITT Corp. President
Robert Bowman, who is introducing WBIS+ in New York, a
sports and business network, said they are "finding more and
more women watching and talking to their children about
sports" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/13).
ITT BETS ON WBIS: ITT's "forays into entertainment" are
profiled in BUSINESS WEEK under the header, "Is Showbiz No
Biz for ITT?" Lesly & Grover write that "even before it
hits the air, WBIS+'s future is cloudy." Although it "seems
like a winner," ITT's CEO Rand Araskog is "counting on cable
distribution for the broadcast station under 'must carry'
rules. But the U.S. Supreme Court may soon revoke must-
carry. ... That would leave Araskog to duke it out" with the
likes of News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch "to win space for WBIS+
on crowded cable systems" (BUSINESS WEEK, 1/20).