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Volume 24 No. 156

Sports Media

          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,
     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 (UPS).