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Volume 24 No. 158

Sports Media

          The Chargers and XTRA-AM radio have ended their
     relationship after 11 seasons, according to Fritz Quindt of
     the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, who wrote that XTRA "merely
     pulled its final contract renewal offer off the table." 
     XTRA GM Kevin McCarthy: "We just agreed to disagree on the
     value of rights fees. ... and we had an amicable parting of
     the ways."  Quindt's sources put XTRA's "final" offer at
     "about" $3M per year plus "performance incentives," which
     would have been "an increase over the present rights fee." 
     McCarthy: "We've lost substantial money the last two years
     on football.  We were willing to lose money on the next
     contract, too, just not as much."  McCarthy, on losing the
     Chargers: "I'm not inconsolable; if we had the Padres and
     lost them, I'd be inconsolable.  NFL teams are the worst
     bang for the buck.  You're buying only 56 hours a year"
     (Fritz Quindt, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/28).

          NBC's coverage of Game Seven of the World Series earned     a final rating of a 24.5/39, bringing the final cumulative     Series rating to a 16.7, just ahead of the World Series all-     time low rating of 16.4 in '89 (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD,     10/29).  The World Series led NBC to its largest weekly win     in primetime since the second week of the Atlanta Olympics     in '96.  NBC Sports programs placed as the top six rated     shows in primetime for the week ending October 26 (NBC).      Game Seven was the highest-rated sporting event on TV since     the 43.3 for January's Super Bowl (Lisa de Moraes, HOLLYWOOD     REPORTER, 10/29). In N.Y. Richard Huff writes that while the     "ratings weren't very good at all compared to past Series,     the Nielsen numbers were very good compared to NBC's usual     series results," except for its top-rated Thursday night     lineup (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/29).  Also in N.Y., Richard     Sandomir adds that Marlins-Indians ratings "continued" the     Fall Classic's TV "slide," finishing down 3.5% from last     year, 14.3% from '95 and 32% from '91 (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29).            OTHER RATINGS: ABC's "MNF" earned a 16.8/32 for     Packers-Patriots and Bears-Dolphins, its second-highest     "MNF" rating for the season (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29).     ..."Powered by pro football," TNT was the most-watched cable     network in primetime during October with an average of 1.627     million homes per show during the month.  TNT's Saints-Bears     game on October 5 was the most-watched primetime cable     program during the month, followed by its Ravens-Steelers on     October 12 (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/29)....In Denver, up against     the Broncos-Bills game, Sunday's MLS Cup '97 between the     Rapids and D.C. United earned a 3.5/6 preliminary overnight     on KMGH in Denver.  The telecast was seen in roughly 42,000     households in the Denver area and by about 100,000 viewers     (Rapids)....Raycom Sports' weekly syndicated show "More Than     A Game" earned a 2.3 rating for the week ending October 20,     its highest to date and a 64% increase over the previous     week's 1.4 rating (Raycom Sports).

          Associates of Marv Albert said that he will discuss
     "his side of the assault case that led to his dismissal by
     NBC and the MSG Network in televised interviews with Barbara
     Walters and Larry King," according to Richard Sandomir of
     the N.Y. TIMES.  Albert will appear November 7 on ABC's
     "20/20" and November 11 on CNN's "Larry King Live."  Reps
     for Walters and King would not comment, nor would Albert's
     spokesperson, Howard Rubenstein (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29).

          NETWORKS: NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol, on the
     altercation between the Colts' Jim Harbaugh and NBC Sports'
     Jim Kelly: "Usually, we're criticizing ex-athletes who
     become announcers for either saying nothing or being too
     timid to stand behind what they do say.  This certainly has
     not been the case with Jim Kelly" (USA TODAY, 10/29). 
     Kelly, in a statement, on the incident with Harbaugh: "I
     don't know how he hurt himself, since I never saw a punch
     and certainly did not get hit" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/29).
     ...The AP's Ron Sirak profiled The Golf Channel and notes
     that the network expects to finish this year with nearly 14
     million homes.  TGC CEO Joe Gibbs said the net gets 60% of
     its revenue from advertising and 40% from subscribers. 
     Gibbs: "We've found that our average viewer plays more than
     100 rounds of golf a year and watches over 7 1/2 hours of
     The Golf Channel a week" (AP, 10/28). 
          PUBLICATIONS: Having invested $500,000 in brand
     research, The Sporting News (TSN) will unveil its "new look"
     December 8.  Cost of the redesign and a supporting ad
     campaign will be $30M over three years.  AD AGE's Ann Marie
     Kerwin reports that a prototype "looks and feels closer to
     the New York Times Sunday Magazine than the current
     newsprint tabloid" (AD AGE, 10/27 issue)....Miller
     Publishing Group President Robert Miller, on two of his new
     magazine acquisitions: "Tennis and Snow Country are both
     easily conceived as having active television presence,
     probably in the cable arena" (MEDIAWEEK, 10/27 issue).

          CBS SportsLine launched Michael Jordan's official Web
     site yesterday at jordan.sportsline.com.  The site launched
     with seven charter sponsors, including Microsoft, Gatorade,
     Oakley, Wilson, Hanes, Ballpark Franks and WorldCom. 
     Jordan's site is divided into nine areas, including: career
     stats, game summaries and previews, daily polls, interactive
     contests and a feature of the week; Jordan's bio; a Bulls
     section; a pro basketball section; off-court news about
     Jordan; a Jordan chat room; audio and video highlights; the
     Gatorade Slam Dunk Challenge; and a gift shop featuring
     Jordan merchandise.  Jordan will be "an active participant"
     in the site, providing columns and audio each month,
     answering select fan e-mails each week and participating in
     scheduled chat sessions (CBS SportsLine).
          A LITTLE HELP FROM HIS FRIENDS: As of yesterday, the
     following sponsors are presenting various sections on
     Jordan's site: the Jordan chat room presented by Hanes; the
     gift shop by Wilson; the career/bio section by Oakley; and
     Off The Court news by Microsoft.  Wilson, Gatorade and
     Oakley each had banner ads on the site (THE DAILY).  
          JORDAN GETS INTO THE GAME: CBS SportsLine VP/Marketing
     Mark Mariani said to "look for commercials to pop up" on the
     site.  The SUN-TIMES Phil Rosenthal reports that Jordan's
     video highlights section features two of his commercials for
     downloading (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/29).