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Volume 24 No. 154

Sports Media

          Fox will prepare for its "unprecedented" five hours of
     Super Bowl pre-game coverage by putting crews "not only in
     New Orleans," but in Green Bay and Foxboro, MA, for the next
     twelve days," according to Joanne Weintraub of the MILWAUKEE
     JOURNAL SENTINEL.  The crews will follow Packers, Patriots
     and their families, "compiling video diaries of both teams." 
     Asked if a five-hour pre-game was too much, Fox Exec
     Producer Ed Goren said, "No, as long as Madison Avenue keeps
     buying, we'll keep doing it" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL,
     1/14). IMG's Barry Frank, on the Super Bowl matchup: "Green
     Bay is going to be every bit as attractive as Dallas in the
     Super Bowl for Fox.  The Packers have Brett Favre, Reggie
     White and tradition. And Bill Parcells leads the Patriots"
     (USA TODAY, 1/14).  In Tampa, Pat Yasinskas notes "for the
     first time in recent memory, this one is going to be fun, in
     a refreshing sort of way ... [the teams] bring a youthful
     enthusiasm to Bourbon Street" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/14).
          NFL NEWS: The Packers' Santana Dotson will write a
     playoff journal for Superbowl.com (Tony Rome). ....CABLE
     WORLD's Alan Breznick reviews the NFL's regular-season
     ratings, "as national TV carriers are scratching their heads
     over a surprisingly disappointing pro football season." 
     Breznick: "Back-to-back annual ratings declines may mean
     that the league's popularity has finally peaked after nearly
     four decades of steady growth" (CABLE WORLD, 1/13).

          The Phoenix Gazette afternoon newspaper will print its
     final edition on Saturday.  Phoenix Newspapers will continue
     to publish the morning Arizona Republic (ARIZONA REPUBLIC,
     1/14)....Former ESPN exec Roger Werner is featured in
     FORBES.  Werner has started two CT-based sports channels,
     "Outdoor Life" and "Speedvision."  Werner "believes the
     appetite for sports viewing is as insatiable as his own for
     participation."  Werner: "Our rollout is constrained [only]
     by the industry's ability to add capacity" (FORBES, 1/27).
     ...The Orlando Sentinel and Time Warner Cable will launch a
     24-hour local news channel on cable TV this fall.  The
     station will offer local sports, news and weather to about
     400,000 Time Warner subscribers in Central Florida (ORLANDO
     SENTINEL, 1/14). 
 
          

          Top Rank, Inc. plans a monthly series of live boxing
     events on DirecTV beginning February 12, according to Carl
     DiOrio of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  It would mark the first
     time fights are "exclusively transmitted via a satellite TV
     service."  The monthly boxing series, called DirecTV
     Ringside, "marks the first original programming effort for
     DirecTV," and it will offer the series to subscribers on a
     PPV basis.  Top Rank will produce DirecTV Ringside and will
     "use some of its video library for related boxing specials
     and promotions."  Top Rank President Bob Arum said the deal
     won't affect his current relationship with HBO.  In a
     separate deal, DirecTV agreed to carry the next three fights
     of Oscar De La Hoya (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 1/14).