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Volume 24 No. 156

Events Attractions

          ESPN kicks off coverage of its Winter X Games today
     from Crested Butte, CO, on ESPN and ESPN2.  ABC will carry
     an hour of coverage Saturday.  The Games end Sunday.
          THEY GO TO EXTREMES: USA TODAY's Sal Ruibal reported
     that the Summer and Winter X Games combined have a budget of
     "just" $15M, "yet they probably will turn a bigger profit
     for Disney than its NFL telecasts."  All available ad slots
     are purchased, and Nike, AT&T, Mountain Dew, Pringles, Taco
     Bell and Volkswagen "are locked in for future X Games." 
     ESPN Senior VP Jeff Ruhe: "After three years, we're in the
     black and turning blacker" (USA TODAY, 1/15).  ESPN
     Coordinating Producer Jamie Reynolds said the net's coverage
     -- costing $5M -- would not just be "eye candy":
     "Personality is a huge hook for us" (Colorado Spr GAZETTE
     TELEGRAPH, 1/16).  In Denver, Scott Willoughby reported that
     with 300 athletes, a temporary staff of more than 1,000 and
     another 400-plus volunteers, "the X Games are being touted
     as this winter's biggest sporting event next to the Nagano
     Olympics."  ESPN's broadcast is expected to reach 221
     million homes in 120 countries and will be aired in 20
     languages.  Crested Butte Special Events Dir Gina Kroft, on
     the Games' impact on the town: "The awareness we've gained
     just from the [X Games spokesperson] Evel Knievel
     commercials has already made it worthwhile" (POST, 1/11).  

          The NFL, Coca-Cola and Sprint will team-up again to
     present The NFL Experience, January 16-18 and 22-25,
     adjacent to the Super Bowl in San Diego.  The NFL Experience
     features a combination of more than 50 interactive games,
     displays and entertainment attractions.  More than 125,000
     fans are expected to attend over the event's two weekends
     (NFL Experience).  FL-based Entry Media has reached
     agreement with NFLP which will bring Turnstile Advertising,
     with Turnstile AdSleeve Armcovers, to the NFL Experience
     during the Super Bowl.  Coca-Cola and Sprint will be the
     sponsors on the turnstiles (Entry Media).

          The NHL "hopes to draw about 50,000 fans" to the
     Pinnacle.NHL FANtasy "interactive hockey theme park" at the
     Pacific Coliseum, according to John MacKie of the VANCOUVER
     SUN.  The exhibition takes up 250,000-square-feet of space
     in five Pacific National Exhibition buildings.  Interactive
     displays allow fans to test their goaltending skills, clock
     their slapshot or test their stickhandling ability.  MacKie
     wrote that the "biggest lure" is getting your photo taken
     with the Stanley Cup for $5, or free with your own camera
     (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/15).  The PROVINCE's Paul Chapman reported
     that sales from the '98 FANtasy "have already surpassed"
     sales from events in Boston and San Jose.  Chapman: "No
     matter how crazy they got in San Jose's Shark Tank, there's
     no mistaking Vancouver is a hockey town" (PROVINCE, 1/14).  
          HOT SHOT: Wayne King, a 37-year-old electronics
     technician from Dayton, OH, will have the chance to win $5M
     in the Norelco/NHL SuperSkills $5 Million Challenge.  King
     will take four shots at four targets in eight seconds.  For
     each target he hits, he will win $1M.  If he hits all four,
     he wins $5M.  The event will take place during ESPN's "All-
     Star Saturday" Skills Competition (Norelco).