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Volume 24 No. 158

Sports Media

          Former Red Sox manager Kevin Kennedy has been hired as
     a color analyst by ESPN (Sean McAdam, Providence JOURNAL-
     BULLETIN, 3/18).  Kennedy, who is still being paid by the
     Red Sox, will work west coast games for ESPN "as well as
     some radio."  He will make his debut on the Phillies-Dodgers
     game on April 1, and will work the Red Sox-Angels opener on
     April 2 (Gordon Edes, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/19).  Former MLB
     pitcher Joe Magrane has also been added to ESPN's "Wednesday
     Night Baseball" telecasts.  He will make his debut on April
     1 for the Twins-Tigers (ESPN).

          Fox Sports is adding rodeo and skiing to its weekend
     sports line-up for the first time.  Fox will air the
     "Wrangler Bull Riders Only World Championship" on Saturday,
     April 5, and the "Sprint Bumps & Jumps Championships" skiing
     competition on Sunday, April 20 (Fox Sports).
          SADDLE UP:  Bull Riders Only CEO Shaw Sullivan, who
     predicts a 4.2 rating for the event: "Only the boys at Fox
     are crazy enough to do this."  Fox Sports Exec VP Tracy
     Dolgin: "For the Fox generation, there are other things than
     music videos.  You have a guy trying to hang onto a wild,
     multithousand-pound animal, and the bull's trying to throw
     him off and stomp him to death" (MEDIAWEEK, 3/17).
          MORE DISTRIBUTION: Fox Sports Americas and the Int'l
     Channel reached a deal to broadcast an int'l sports block to
     Int'l Channel viewers.  The Int'l Channel offers multiple
     language basic programming to more than seven million
     subscribers in the U.S. and Latin America. Each int'l
     sporting event will air in its native language in a block
     that is branded under the Fox Sports Americas banner (FSA).

          SI's Steve Lopez writes on the Flyers libel suit
     against Philadelphia WIP-AM under the header, "Put Up Or
     Shut Up."  Lopez: "Some observers think this could do for
     talk radio what Carol Burnett did for supermarket tabloids. 
     When the comedian won a $1.6 million libel judgement against
     the National Enquirer, it prompted a flood of other suits by
     celebrities.  ... And if the Flyers lose in court?  Sports
     could end up making professional wrestling look like a high
     art form" (SI, 3/24 issue)....Detroit Free Press sports
     columnist Mitch Albom has won first place in sports writing
     in the National Headliner Awards.  The L.A. Times' Bill
     Plaschke finished second and the Wall Street Journal's Roger
     Thurow was third (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/19)....USA TODAY's
     Rudy Martzke writes that PGA Tour officials, "opposed to
     Fox's proposal to incorporate FoxTrax hockey puck technology
     into golf balls, will remain with ABC, NBC and CBS in new
     deals that likely will increase from $45 million annually
     over four years to about $70 million" (USA TODAY,
     3/19)....IL-based One-on-One Sports Network has bought WXLX-
     AM in the New York area, part of a $45M deal that includes
     AM stations in Miami and Los Angeles.  All three stations
     will be converted to sports.  In the New York market, WXLX
     will go up against WFAN (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/19)....The
     Broncos' Shannon Sharpe is a spokesperson for Cyberforce, an
     Internet access provider that rivals AOL.  Sharpe joins
     "several NFL players," including the Packers' Sean Jones,
     the Bills' Andre Reed, and the Raiders' Tim Brown, as
     members of the NV-based service (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/19).

          Although CBS' ratings of the NCAA Men's Basketball
     Tournament first and second rounds are up over the
     tournament's last few years, it "has interrupted momentum
     built by CBS Entertainment," according to USA TODAY's Rudy
     Martzke.  CBS had won the previous two weeks in primetime
     ratings, but was second last week when ratings dropped 6%. 
     During the first three nights of the tournament -- Thursday,
     Friday and Saturday -- CBS' ratings were down 12% from the
     previous week.  CBS Sports President Sean McManus says he is
     "concerned," adding, "We'll figure out a way for the
     tournament to work financially so it won't be a financial
     albatross in the future."  But Grey Advertising's Jon Mandel
     says the tournament "is more than a couple of games in
     primetime.  You're bringing an audience to the set you might
     not have" (USA TODAY, 3/19).  
          MACHO MEN: Numbers from Nielsen Media showed CBS' NCAA
     coverage "more than doubled" the net's regularly scheduled
     Thursday average among men 25-54 and men 18-49.  CBS won
     Friday night among men 25-54, and was No. 2 among men 18-49. 
     On Saturday, CBS won the night among homes and total
     viewers.  It "also took the night in adults 25-54 and all
     key male demos" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 3/19).
          PPV PLUG: In Orlando, Alan Schmadtke: "If you looked
     closely at the first- and second-round NCAA Tournament
     games, you noticed plenty of fans disguised as empty seats. 
     Sadly, welcome to the era of television.  Suggestion for the
     NCAA: pay-per-view.  Unlike the one-time event like boxing,
     nobody's going to get ripped off paying for the NCAA
     Tournament, particularly when you are guaranteed of seeing
     the game(s) you want" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/19).

          In the current MEDIAWEEK, Senior Editors Burghi & Katz
     handicap 25 "emerging networks to see which ones stand the
     best chance to break out of the pack and become
     moneymakers."  Burgi & Katz:  "Some eternal verities:  those
     networks with corporate pull will make it to market more
     easily.  But a good idea, such as Classic Sports Network,
     can still make it past the media giants that control the
     service at the top of the list."  The following lists the
     rankings for sports related channels: 
          CLASSIC SPORTS NET (Tied for No. 4): "Its independent
     status could hurt the network's distribution in a world
     dominated by mediaconglomerates."  ESPNEWS (Tied for No. 4): 
     "Of the two all-sports news services, this one is more
     likely to thrive.  The question is, does anyone want an all-
     sports news service?  Good ownership and decent promotional
     muscle."  CNN/fn (No. 8): "The niche is already well served
     by CNBC."  CNN/SI (No. 10): "Widely considered to be less
     compelling to agencies and operators than its competitor.
     Deep pockets and Sports Illustrated's loyal readership could
     help."  SPEEDVISION (Tied for No. 11):  "Definitely has sex
     appeal (fast cars, boats and planes).  It's a very narrow
     niche and one that's found in bits and pieces on other
     nets."  GOLF CHANNEL (Tied for No. 18):  "Subscribers have
     been hard to come by. The net corrected a flawed
     distribution strategy which marketed it as a mini-pay.  Now
     as a basic channel with $50 million in Fox money, the future
     looks a bit brighter" (MEDIAWEEK, 3/17). 
          CLASS OF '95: BROADCASTING & CABLE's Joe Schlosser
     reviews "Cable's Class Of 1995: A Look At How The Major
     Cable Launches Of That Year Have Fared," which includes The
     Golf Channel, CSN and Speedvision.  Projections for year-end
     '97 subscribers: CSN with 15-20 million; TCG with 14.5
     million; Speedvision with 14 million (B&C, 3/17 issue).