TV: USA TODAY's Gordon Forbes reports that the NFL's TV
negotiations "will run slower this year." The October 1
exclusivity deadline for talking to current broadcast
carriers "will be pushed back" to November 1. Forbes: "The
new deal won't be firmed up until after the Super Bowl" (USA
TODAY, 9/18)....Mike Keenan "has had talks with ESPN and Fox
Sports about becoming a hockey commentator this season"
(DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/17)....Ed Pinckney will serve as an
in-studio host for UPN-33's Heat road TV broadcasts, as well
as a radio analyst on WIOD for home games (Heat).
PRINT: SI will publish "The Boston Collection: The Best
Boston Sports Stories from The Pages of Sports Illustrated,"
the first in a series of city-specific special issues. The
164-page issue will hit Boston newsstands on October 6, and
will have a cover price of $5.95. Ford Division/New England
is the exclusive advertiser of the issue which features Ted
Williams on the cover. Chicago will be the next issue (SI).
"Steel Chariots," a film on NASCAR racing, premieres
Tuesday, September 23, at 8:00pm ET/PT. "Steel Chariots"
features cameos by NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace
and Mark Martin. NASCAR announcers Ned Jarrett and Benny
Parsons play themselves in the film (NASCAR).
MORE THAN A MOVIE? The production was profiled by John
Nagy of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. Nagy: "These days,
everyone seems to want a piece of NASCAR, and Hollywood is
no different. But the relationship NASCAR and Hollywood had
on 'Steel Chariots' illustrates just how greatly NASCAR's
power has grown over the last few years." NASCAR
VP/Marketing and Development Ken Clapp, on the pilot episode
of "Steel Chariots:" "We left the ending so we could carry
on." Clapp represented NASCAR and "was in on every aspect
of the movie's production," as producers "agreed to his
script changes and reshot scenes he didn't like." Nagy:
"The final cut of 'Steel Chariots,' while no great cinematic
achievement, might just be the best representative film work
ever done on NASCAR. ... Lest you think this film too
'inside racin',' it also includes numerous 'Baywatch'
touches like beautiful women." Nagy adds that the idea of a
TV series "excites NASCAR like few other things." Clapp:
"We're ready to go with 13 episodes if we get the ratings."
Nagy: "But while NASCAR had control with the pilot, a series
might find NASCAR losing out to ratings-hungry studio
executives" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 9/17).
The Rockies asked a Denver District Court judge "to
temporarily stop" local Web publisher Robert Lewis from
producing his baseball Web page, arguing that it "infringes"
on the team's trademarks and "confuses Internet users,"
according to Leyla Kokmen of the DENVER POST. Lewis
publishes a CO Tourism & Sport site at www.rockies.com,
which links to www.blakestreet.com, his "Colorado Baseball
Daily" page. Rockies attorney Tom Kelley: "We want to
prevent Mr. Lewis and his company from using the Rockies'
trademark -- Rockies and Colorado Rockies -- to identify
himself and his product." Lewis' attorneys argue that he
"has made changes" to his online site, including "adding
disclaimers, dropping use of the Rockies' logo and colors,
changing the name from The Daily Rockies' Web to Colorado
Baseball Daily, and removing the newsletter from
rockies.com, although the sites are still linked." But
Kelley said that Internet users "still associate rockies.com
with Lewis' baseball site." The team does not currently
have a Web site, but it "expect[s] to launch one by the end
of October." A December trial is set (DENVER POST, 9/18).
NEW TENNIS NET: The Corel WTA Tour unveiled its
redesigned site at www.corelwtatour.com. The site, rebuilt
with MD-based American Cities Studios, features new player
audio and video interviews and features, up-to-date
tournament results, press conference transcripts, player
action photos, an educational section geared towards
youngsters, interactive games and a ticker with up-to-date
Tour news, among other features. Future plans include a
shopping mall area, full motion video, real-time scores and
multilingual sections (Corel WTA Tour).
ON ICE: NHL ICE celebrates its one-year anniversary on
October 4, and for the coming season, following every game,
NHL.com will produce a 90-second video highlight of that
game. NHL ICE also plans to introduce the NHL/IBM Real Time
Scoring System -- the NHL's first program for electronically
tabulating on-ice activity during a hockey game (NHL ICE).
DEVIL OF A SITE? The Devil Rays launched www.devilray.
com, developed by FL-based WebLink Communications. The team
is using "www.devilray.com" because "www.devilrays.com" was
claimed by FL businessman Joe Rossetto for $100. Rossetto
"offered to sell the address for what [team general counsel
John] Higgins said was $50,000." The team declined and
Higgins said, "Basically, we weren't going to pay 50 grand
for an s" (Marc Topkin, ST. PETE TIMES, 9/16).