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Volume 24 No. 137

Sports Media

          The Colts will replace WIBC-AM as its radio flagship
     for WFBQ and WNDE, according to Robin Miller of the
     INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS.  Colts Exec Dir of Business
     Development Ray Compton said the deal was not signed "yet,"
     but that the team had "verbally accepted another offer." 
     Compton added the new deal enables the team to market their
     own advertising and programming.  WIBC was the original
     flagship of the Colts in '84, but lost the rights to WFBQ
     and WNDE in '92, before "regaining them" in '95.  WIBC Owner
     Jeff Smulyan, who has "lobbied long and hard to keep" the
     Colts in Indianapolis, was "seething" after the decision. 
     Smulyan: "My understanding is that the offers were
     identical, and it's incomprehensible they could have offered
     more than we did. ... Where's the loyalty?"  Compton said it
     was "as tough a decision as he's ever made."  Although terms
     were not disclosed, Miller reported that WIBC paid $1M for
     rights fees in '97, and that Compton is "hopeful" that
     figure "can double by selling in-house advertising" (STAR-
     NEWS, 1/9).  Miller writes today under the header, "Colts
     And Irsay Hit All-Time Low With Radio Deal."  He calls the
     move "an appalling breach of trust, friendship and community
     relations" from team Owner Jim Irsay to Smulyan after
     Smulyan "gave Irsay invaluable support in reworking his
     stadium lease with the city" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 1/12).

          Fox Sports will air "Oscar De La Hoya's Big Fight
     Night" on March 23 -- the same night as ABC's broadcast of
     the Academy Awards.  The telecast is being dubbed "Oscar
     versus 'The Oscars.'"  The card, which will air live from
     8:00-10:00pm ET, will take place at the Foxwoods Resort
     Casino in Mashantucket, CT and feature four fights.  Fox's
     James Brown will call the action, and De La Hoya will serve
     as an analyst.  Top Rank will also promote the bouts (Fox). 
          THE ICE MELTS: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke reports that
     Fox's James Brown has the "first joint interview" with Nancy
     Kerrigan and Tonya Harding which will air on Fox on February
     5 (USA TODAY, 1/12).  The show will be titled "Lillehammer
     Revisited" and be seen in prime-time (THE DAILY).

          In N.Y., TV critic Eric Mink gives tonight's "Real
     Sports with Bryant Gumbel" three-and-a-half stars.  Mink:
     "This program needs to appear more often" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
     1/12)....Sunday's N.Y. TIMES' "Money & Business" section
     featured a cover story by Mark Landler titled, "From Gurus
     To Sitting Ducks: Media Executives Lose Their Edge." 
     Landler writes that today's top media execs are "spooked" by
     the Internet because they "did nothing to develop it and
     little to popularize it."  Landler: "And even now, though
     they all maintain sites on the World Wide Web -- some of
     them, like the Disney-owned [ESPN SportsZone], are extremely
     popular -- it is not clear how genuinely the media chiefs
     embrace the net" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/11)....After signing its
     over-the-air rights to Silver King Broadcasting for next
     season, the Heat "has lost its halftime show and its
     postgame coverage for the balance of the season" on current
     over-the-air carrier WBFS-UPN (SUN-SENTINEL, 1/12).