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Volume 24 No. 117

Sports Industrialists

          Sports Illustrated TV President TED SHAKER is leaving
     to "create his own production company."  Shaker was formerly
     the Exec Producer of CBS Sports (Richard Sandomir, N.Y.
     TIMES, 12/16)....ROBERT GARRY has resigned, effective
     December 31, as Dir of Administration and CFO at the USTA. 
     He has been at the USTA since '70 and intends to pursue
     other business interests and opportunities.  A national
     search will commence to find a replacement (USTA).

          Time Warner Sports President SETH ABRAHAM, who feels
     that boxing promoters must "appeal to the younger set to
     compete with the NBA and the extreme sports," said that HBO
     will promote PRINCE NASEEM HAMED "a little differently than
     most fighters."  HBO has "hired a photographer who had never
     worked with athletes" to shoot Hamed, and Abraham called the
     final product "larger than life, more MTVish."  Abraham, on
     Hamed: "He's got sass.  He's got attitude.  He's got mouth. 
     He's not a shrinking violet.  Even in his heyday, MUHAMMAD
     ALI was never this outrageous" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/14). 
          WACKO OVER JACKO: MICHAEL JACKSON "dropped in" on Hamed
     yesterday "to admire a possible future dance partner." 
     Jackson: "We've been talking about doing a video together." 
     Jackson said Hamed moves "better than any boxer he's seen
     since" Ali (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/16)....As of yesterday, more
     than 6,000 tickets had been sold for MSG's Friday night
     Hamed-Kevin Kelley championship bout.  MSG has set up a 200-
     foot runway for Hamed's "elaborate ring entrance," which has
     taken up to 20 minutes in London.  HBO "is hoping to trim
     Hamed's entrance to 10 minutes" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/16).

          MONTANA RETIREMENT CEREMONY: 49ers co-Owner EDDIE
     DEBARTOLO JR., was warmly greeted before his introduction of
     JOE MONTANA at last night's ceremony retiring No. 16 in San
     Francisco: "Joe Montana came on the scene as Sir Lancelot
     came into Camelot.  In behalf of the greatest fans in the
     NFL, in behalf of the greatest city in the world, this man
     has etched his place in NFL history as the greatest
     quarterback that has ever played the game."  Montana singled
     out DeBartolo, saying: "We love you, Eddie" ("MNF," 12/15). 
          OTHER NAMES: DEAN SMITH will be honored today as Sports
     Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year" for '97 (NEWS &
     OBSERVER, 12/16)....CHARLES BARKLEY, on receiving acting
     opportunities: "They keep sending me scripts to read.  I've
     got plenty of movie offers" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/16).
     ...TROY AIKMAN and DARYL JOHNSTON signed a partnership with
     TX-businessmen JACK & JOEY MILNER for three Blockbuster
     Video stores in Irving and Coppell.  The company set up to
     operate the stores will be called Aikman/Milner
     Entertainment Partners (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/16).  

          Agent ARN TELLEM is profiled by Richard Weiner in the
     cover story of USA TODAY's sports section.  Weiner: "Fairly
     or not, Tellem has become known as a top representative for
     today's disgruntled star athletes."  With a client list that
     includes LATRELL SPREWELL, ISAIAH RIDER and ALBERT BELLE,
     among others, Tellem "has been thrust into high-profile,
     problem-solving mode."  Tellem: "I think that's something I
     have done effectively for a lot of my clients."  Weiner
     writes that Tellem "is basically a baseball nerd who became
     a lawyer, then an agent. ... The book on Tellem is mixed, as
     one would expect.  His clients swear by him, just as he does
     for them.  His competitors are weary of speaking one way or
     the other.  Executives tolerate Tellem as they would any
     other well-connected agent" (USA TODAY, 12/16).
          

          When we look back on '97, one story in the sports     industry clearly is the most interesting and consequential:     the emergence of Fox Sports Net (FSN).  In just 12 months,     FSN -- now with access to 58 million homes and the local     cable rights to more than 65 NBA, MLB and NHL teams -- has     created a new world order for sports on cable; helped     advertisers better understand regional sports; changed the     economics of local rights fees; and, begun to give chase to     ESPN, the gold standard for cable sports programming.            But this quick ascent should be no surprise considering     the vision, creativity and determination that News Corp. has     shown when it comes to sports, entertainment and television.     There are many people responsible for FSN and the entire Fox     Sports portfolio, and ultimately, it all comes back to     Rupert Murdoch.  But, we think that there is one executive     aside from Murdoch who has driven the entire Fox Sports     brand to its position of legitimacy and influence.  That     executive and our choice to receive the 1997 SPORTS     INDUSTRIALIST OF THE YEAR award is DAVID HILL.          KING OF THE HILL: David Hill embodies every aspect of     THE DAILY's vision for the sports industry and recognizes     that sports is a global entertainment business.  His career     in entertainment is based on his success in sports and, for     that matter, the success of Fox Television is rooted in     sports as well.          Hill joined Fox Broadcasting in 1993 to create and run     Fox Sports.  Under his direction, Fox Sports jumped off the     drawing boards to become a full-fledged network sports     division with rights to the NFL, NHL and MLB.  In '96, Hill     was promoted to President & COO of Fox Television, and this     September he was named Chair & CEO of Fox Broadcasting Co.,     responsible for all distribution, programming, advertising     sales, marketing and business affairs.            Still, Hill continues to serve as President of Fox     Sports, Chair of FSN and co-Executive Producer of all Fox     Sports productions.  This year he ranked No. 30 on     ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's list of the "101 Most Powerful People     in Entertainment," and he has been on THE SPORTING NEWS "100     Most Powerful" list for the last three years.  Hill, Fox     Sports and -- as a result -- Fox TV are all players.          FOX ATTITUDE: Most would agree that Fox Sports knows     how to "produce the big event" and has helped innovate     television sports coverage.  While some criticize its "in     your face" attitude as too over the top, Fox -- under Hill's     leadership -- has positioned itself as an organization with     a hip, edgy and forward-thinking sensibility.          The Fox Box, FoxTrax, FoxBots, in-base microphones and     the Catcher-Cam have all helped change prevailing notions     about graphic and production values for sports on TV; Fox     broadcast teams have depth and talent; Fox pre-game     programming knows how to deliver key demos; Fox advertising     campaigns -- ranging from Spike Lee's NHL spots to "Fox     House '97" -- get attention; and Fox is smart about     leveraging promotional relationships with corporate partners     such as 7-Eleven, MasterCard, Anheuser-Busch, Miller and      Visa.  With an eye on the future, Fox is looking hard at     virtual ads, as well as a branded retail merchandise effort.     Simply put, David Hill has built a great sports division.           YEAR IN REVIEW: But our SPORTS INDUSTRIALIST OF THE     YEAR award is not just about historical achievement.  Recent     success is a necessity and -- by any measure -- '97 was a     staggering year for David Hill and Fox Sports.          In JANUARY, Fox began its third season of NHL coverage     with the 47th NHL All-Star Game; broadcast Super Bowl XXXI,     the fourth-most watched TV program in history, earning a     43.3 rating/65 share with 128.9 million viewers; and, joined     with Globosat to launch a 24-hour sports channel in Brazil.     In APRIL, Fox Sports televised the first live, primetime     rodeo event on a national broadcast network.  In MAY, Fox        Sports opened its second season of MLB coverage and      broadcast Game One of the '97 Stanley Cup Finals, posting a     4.0 rating/8 share, reaching 17.8 million viewers and     yielding the most-watched game in NHL history.            In JUNE, Fox Sports and TCI's Liberty Media invested     $850M to join forces with Cablevision's Rainbow Media     Holdings to create a new national, regional and local     supplier of sports programming.  The deal put FSN into 55     million homes through 17 combined RSNs, with a stake in     Madison Square Garden and holdings in Chicago, Florida, New     England, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Ohio.            In JULY, Fox Sports broadcast its first MLB All-Star     Game, winning the night with an 11.4 rating/21 share, while     FSN acquired rights to the Red Wings and Pistons and formed     Fox Sports Detroit.  In AUGUST, Fox Sports West and Anaheim     Sports dismissed their legal actions against one another;     Fox Sports Rocky Mountain agreed to pay $100M over seven     years for rights to the Avalanche and Nuggets; Fox Sports     broadcast its first tennis event; and, began its fourth     season of NFL coverage.          In SEPTEMBER, News Corp. reached an agreement with     Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley to purchase the team for over     $300M, while FSN inked a three-year deal with the ABL for up     to 24 games a season and a Sunday night game of the week.      In OCTOBER, at the annual News Corp. meeting, Rupert Murdoch     declared Fox Sports Net "the absolute key to our future";     Fox Sports and The Marment Group launched a new national     sports tracking poll; Fox and New Regency Productions signed     a 15-year, $200M deal; and Fox/Liberty reached a deal to     acquire a majority stake in FiT TV.          In NOVEMBER, Fox Sports World made its debut as a 24-     hour English-language int'l sports channel for basic cable     and digital platforms; Fox Sports Net Online, with a zip     code-based search capability, was added to foxsports.com;     FSN aired The Tiger Woods Invitational; and, Fox Sports     gained rights to the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl, enabling     Fox to broadcast its first college football game in '99.           And, finally, in DECEMBER it was announced that     SportsChannel Pacific, Chicago, New England, Ohio and New     York will all be branded under the FSN name in early '98.      All in all, not bad for a network sports division that did     not exist four years ago.           THE BIG PICTURE: When it launched in 1986, Fox     Broadcasting had one show on 96 stations.  Today, Fox has     more than 200 affiliates and programs every night in     primetime, late night on Saturday, weekdays and Saturday and     Sunday mornings.  Fox has also become a network with an eye     for breakthrough shows, bringing to TV "The Simpsons,"     "Married ... With Children," "Beverly Hills 90210,"     "America's Most Wanted," "Cops," "In Living Color," "The X-     Files" and "Ally McBeal."  And, during this year's November     sweeps, Fox -- under Hill's leadership -- finished second     among adults 18-49 years-old, which VARIETY called "a     stunning achievement that signals to a once-skeptical     industry that the upstart 'fourth network' is now more than     just a legitimate primetime player."          So, what does sports have to do with all this?      Everything.  David Hill has been the key to success for Fox     Sports, and Fox Sports has been a critical component of the     network's success in entertainment programming.  Even     Murdoch himself has made it clear that "sports is the     gatekeeper" and a central part of his own strategy for     becoming the top global media company.          While some News Corp. and Fox deals might not make     sense on a quarter-to-quarter or short-term cash flow basis,     Murdoch and his lieutenants run their business with a     strategic vision and an eye on the entire planet.  News     Corp. may rank fourth among the media giants, and Fox may be     the fourth network in the U.S., but both these positions     have been attained largely because of sports -- which means     they have been attained because of David Hill.  We could not     think of a more fitting recipient to receive our SPORTS     INDUSTRIALIST OF THE YEAR award for 1997.            THANK YOU: THE DAILY would like to thank our many     clients who took the time to nominate their peers and     colleagues for this year's award.  We encourage you, and all     of our subscribers, to participate again in '98 (THE DAILY).