ESPN, which had two sets on the floor of the Phoenix
Civic Plaza, "scored heavily" during yesterday's MLB
Expansion Draft, according to Jim Gintonio of the ARIZONA
REPUBLIC. Gintonio: "Tuesday's major league expansion draft
was a slick and professional job, just what you would
expect." Gintonio: "A big part of [ESPN's] success comes
from its light-hearted approach. So why doesn't someone tell
Peter Gammons to lighten up a bit? ... There's no doubting
his knowledge, but the guy needs to act like he's having a
little bit of fun." Gintonio also credits Fox Sports
Arizona, which focused on the D'Backs, with maintaining "a
good flow" during its coverage (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/19).
CA-based IDG Books Worldwide is publishing "Hockey For
Dummies" written by longtime hockey analyst John Davidson.
"Hockey For Dummies," a licensed publication of the NHL,
includes coaching advice on training and strategies for the
game; offers tips for beginners playing the sport; and hints
for viewers watching on TV and in person (NHL).
BIRD CLIPPED? Pacers Coach Larry Bird "nixed a $200,000
advance" for "Full Court Press," a book about his first year
as a coach, "because the offer wasn't lucrative enough,"
according to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Bird's agent Frank
Weimann said his client "deserves big money," but added that
he "counseled his client to take the offer" (EW, 11/21).
RATINGS: HBO's "Don King: Only In America" earned a
9.9/15 rating last Saturday, beating all broadcast networks
from 8:00-10:00pm ET (N.Y. POST, 11/19)....USA TODAY's
Michael Hiestand reports that Tiger Woods' TV "impact
continues," as TBS' golf "Grand Slam" on Monday night
received a 1.3 overnight rating, up 18% from '96 (USA TODAY,
11/19)....SRI's SMART TV ratings service was profiled by
Valerie Block in this week's CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS. Block:
"While hardly a threat yet, the budding service is gaining
credibility. ... SMART is already forcing Nielsen, which
annually takes in $350 million for its services, to be more
responsive." Block writes that SMART "will need to raise"
more than $100M, and that observers "doubt that money will
ever materialize" (CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS, 11/17 issue).
WEB: Wall Street Sports, at www.wallstreetsports.com,
was profiled in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL. More than
17,000 people have joined the game where "investors" can buy
and sell shares of athletes (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/19).
...InterZine Productions launched The Mountain Club -- the
World Wide Web's first year-round membership program for
skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and other mountain
sports enthusiasts. The membership is accessible via
InterZine's sports-specific sites. InterZine publishes THE
SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY (InterZine)....UPS has launched its
World Wide Web site dedicated to the company's Olympic
sponsorship. The site is www.ups.com/olympics/ (UPS).