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Volume 24 No. 112

Olympics

          While the Americans' "generally disappointing" skating
     performances in Nagano may have put a halt to the usual
     post-Olympics "gravy train," Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski
     are the "exception," according to Alexandra Peers of the
     WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Kwan has deals in the works, including
     a TV contract, "but some hinge on her taking the gold." 
     Peers writes that while it looked as if skater Michael Weiss
     would be another "big winner in the endorsement race," with
     varying deals with AT&T, Coca-Cola, UPS and McDonald's, his
     seventh-place finish hasn't earned him "any more offers"
     (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/19).  Kwan's agent Shep Goldberg
     speculated that Kwan could earn $15-$20M, over a five to ten
     year period after the Games (NEWSDAY, 2/19).  Skating agent
     Michael Rosenberg said Kwan "should make somewhere between"
     $5-10 million dollars "whether she is amateur or
     professional."  Rosenberg: "Tara Lipinski has tremendous
     potential.  Nicole Bobek has tremendous potential.  Tara
     because she is the phenomenon, and Nicole because she is the
     blond sexbomb" ("The Cutting Edge," TNT, 2/18).
          SPONSOR NOTES: The WALL STREET JOURNAL awarded TV
     advertising medals, giving Coca-Cola an "Individual Gold"
     for its "Ice Hockey" spot, while awarding IBM the "Team
     Theme Gold" for its "Look for Me" ad (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
     2/19)....USOC sponsor United Airlines is allowing any member
     of the U.S. delegation to stop over in Hawaii for as long as
     they want, then reboard for the mainland at no extra charge
     (USA TODAY, 2/19)....USA TODAY's Melanie Wells reports on
     first-time Olympic sponsor Amway's Nagano presence, as Amway
     "has stepped into the spotlight," and has gotten its
     "typically low-profile, direct sales company and its copious
     products noticed" through billboards, product placement, TV
     ads and a sponsorship tent (USA TODAY, 2/19)....As of
     yesterday, Molson had received 42,000 requests for wakeup
     calls for the Canadian men's hockey games (WALL STREET
     JOURNAL, 2/19)....Paula Greenfield, who runs CA-based
     Celebrity Source, on Ross Rebagliati's endorsement
     potential: "I think if it was heroine or something, nobody
     would want to touch him.  I think marijuana has a totally
     different stigma attached to it" (CP/EDM. JOURNAL, 2/19).

          CBS received a 13.5 rating for Tuesday's primetime
     Olympic coverage, bringing the 12-night average to 16.2 --
     down 37% from Lillehammer in '94 and 14% from Albertville in
     '92, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES.  The
     U.S. Women's gold medal game against Canada drew a 3.4
     rating on Tuesday morning from 7:00-9:00am ET, a "shade
     higher" than the "CBS This Morning" average of 3.1 for its
     weekday Olympic programming (N.Y. TIMES, 2/19).  Wednesday
     morning's live coverage of the U.S.-Czech Republic men's
     hockey game from 12:45am-3:00am drew a 2.4/15 (Mult., 2/19).
          OUT-FOXED: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke writes that
     Tuesday's numbers could indicate that "even the Olympics'
     traditional viewers, women, have lost interest" in the
     Games.  He adds that CBS "now would have to be pleased" if
     last night's ladies figure skating short program reaches a
     20-21 rating, and predicts that the final rating for the
     Games will "be about" a 16.5, which would be the second-
     lowest Winter Olympics in history to the '68 Grenoble Games
     (USA TODAY, 2/19).  DAILY VARIETY's Tom Bierbaum writes that
     Tuesday was "[p]erhaps the roughest night to date" for CBS,
     as Fox's "Scariest Police Chases" and "Moment of Impact!"
     beat primetime Olympic coverage in the adult 18-49 demo,
     marking the first 18-49 loss for a night of Olympics
     coverage, summer or winter, since the '92 Albertville Games. 
     The Games "have won every prime-time half hour to date in
     households," and before Tuesday, CBS had lost only five
     half-hours in the 18-49 category (DAILY VARIETY, 2/19).
          GIVE BACKS: CBS "is acknowledging what the rest of
     America has been saying from the start: The Winter Olympics
     are a dud," according to Kyle Pope of the WALL STREET
     JOURNAL. "Die-hard fans are tuning out," and the low ratings
     are "raising even bigger questions about the value of
     marquee sports programming."  CBS may have to offer free ad
     time elsewhere in its schedule if it cannot "provide enough
     time to make up for the lousy ratings" during the Games
     (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/19).  Some advertisers said that if
     CBS doesn't meet its rating guarantee of a 19.6, "they'll
     just factor the Olympic shortfall into future negotiations"
     (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/19).  AD AGE reported that CBS "could
     owe" its Olympic advertisers 400 30-second spots as make-
     goods, and that "only about half their shortfall" will be
     made up during the Olympics itself (AD AGE, 2/18).
          BRIGHT SPOT: CBS had the top eight primetime programs
     for the week ending February 15, including all seven
     primetime Olympic broadcasts, giving the net its first
     weekly win in adults 18-49 in four years.  CBS's earned a
     16.7/27 for the week, followed by NBC's 8.2/13 rating, ABC's
     7.4/12 and Fox's 7.2/11 (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/19).  

          Thirty minutes into CBS's Olympic broadcast last night,
     Jim Nantz said, "Team USA and hockey came into Nagano a
     strong medal favorite.  They leave here as one of the all-
     time U.S. Olympic disappointments.  Forget about a dream,
     this was a nightmare for Team USA. ... If 1980 was the
     Miracle On Ice, then American fans and players will remember
     1998 as the Disaster On Ice."   Nantz: "Team USA's loss did
     more than just eliminate them from play.  It might have
     defeated the whole purpose of the NHL even coming here to
     Japan.  The National Hockey League clearly had a mission --
     with all the exposure it hoped to get with the United States
     in this tournament, it would help ignite the popularity of
     the sport in the United States and that is clearly not going
     to happen."  Nantz called the team's play "uninspired [and]
     forgettable," with a "sting that will last for four years
     until they get to Salt Lake City."  He noted while "there is
     plenty of excellent hockey to be played here ... [T]his has
     to be a tremendous blow to the well-laid plans of the
     National Hockey League" ("Olympic Primetime," CBS, 2/18).
          NEXT MOVE: USA TODAY's Kevin Allen called the early
     exit "the latest in a series of events that undercut the
     NHL's attempt to broaden exposure through Olympic
     participation."  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: "This was
     never intended to be a watershed event.  It is a building
     block no matter what happened.  How big a building block it
     would be was a function that no one had any control over." 
     While the league hasn't committed to Salt Lake, "many people
     in hockey predict the NHL will be there" (USA TODAY, 2/19). 
          OTHER REAX: ESPN's Al Morganti called the NHL's Nagano
     participation in light of the U.S. loss "an unmitigated
     disaster."  Morganti: "I still think they go ahead with Salt
     Lake City, better time difference and all, and maybe they
     get a U.S. team that looks like it's interested in actually
     playing a game or two."  But ESPN's Darren Pang said, "If
     anything, it's not a step backwards, this is a learning
     process for everybody" ("SportsCenter," 2/18).  NEWSDAY's
     Mark Herrmann: "This was not what the [NHL] had in mind when
     it shut down for more than two weeks" (NEWSDAY, 2/19).  In
     Toronto, Garth Woolsey: "Most Americans were dubious about
     hockey before Bettman, with the players' blessing, shut down
     operations for two weeks.  Now they've got to be doubly
     dubious" (TORONTO STAR, 2/19).  In Houston, John Lopez wrote
     the NHL experiment "blew up in the Americans' faces"
     (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/19).  In Phoenix, David Casstevens:
     "Do You Believe In Debacles?! -- Yesssss!" (ARIZONA
     REPUBLIC, 2/19).  In N.Y., Lisa Olson: "What had started out
     as a grand idea suddenly seemed almost embarrassing" (N.Y.
     DAILY NEWS, 2/19).  In N.Y., Filip Bondy writes that with
     this outcome, "maybe the schedule break is less likely to be
     repeated for Salt Lake City in 2002" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
     2/19).  In DC, Thom Loverro calls the tournament a
     "disaster" as the "league won't realize the big payoff it
     had anticipated" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/19).  In N.Y., Harvey
     Araton writes that "apparently" nobody, not even the league,
     can "script a hockey competition" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/19).  
          PLAYERS GET RIPPED: In Chicago, Jay Mariotti: "Poor
     hockey.  It deserves so much better than the lame effort
     extended by Team USA" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/19).  In K.C.,
     Jason Whitlock writes the U.S. players "let the league down"
     (K.C. STAR, 2/19).  In the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR,
     Douglas Looney writes that Olympic participation could be a
     "bad idea" for NHL players.  Looney: "Maybe [the players]
     are so zeroed in on the NHL season that something like this
     was more a bother than an opportunity" (CSM, 2/19).  The 
     header over Dan Barreiro's column in Minneapolis: "The Most
     Humiliating U.S. Hockey Showing Ever" (STAR TRIBUNE, 2/19). 
     Header over Bob Wojnowksi's story in Detroit: "U.S. Men's
     Hockey Laughable" (DETROIT NEWS, 2/19).  In L.A., Mike
     Downey: "We could have sent the Mighty Ducks over and done
     better" (L.A. TIMES, 2/19).  In Tampa, David Whitley
     compares the men's and women's hockey performances: "[D]on't
     send a man to do a woman's job" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/19).  In
     Orlando, George Diaz calls the team "frauds" (ORLANDO
     SENTINEL, 2/19).  In S.F., C.W. Nevius calls the performance
     an "embarrassment" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/19).  In L.A., Mike
     Penner: "Do you believe in national humiliation?" (L.A.
     TIMES, 2/19).  In DC, Michael Wilbon calls it the "most
     disappointing performance of any team from any country in
     these Winter Olympics" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/19).  In Seattle,
     Elliott Almond wrote U.S. hockey "took 10 steps backward"
     with the early exit (SEATTLE TIMES, 2/19).  In Atlanta,
     Steve Hummer: "Those guys ended up doing as much to advance
     hockey as global warming" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 2/19).
          BE GONE WITH YOU? In N.Y., Wallace Matthews writes
     under the header, "Bring Back The Amateurs."  He calls the
     Dream Team concept a "terrible idea," adding "what happened
     in Nagano is something we should never see again" (N.Y.
     POST, 2/19). In St. Paul, Tom Powers: "It would be better to
     lose these games with amateurs who are realizing a lifelong
     dream, rather than pros who have no particular loyalty and
     no vested interest" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/19).  In his
     column on CBS SportsLine, Bob Kravitz writes, "A bunch of
     American college kids could have made it to the final round
     of the medal play. ... And they could have done it with a
     lot more class and a lot more grace" (CBS SportsLine, 2/19). 
     But in Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton writes that the NHL/Olympic
     participation "isn't the concept that needs to be changed
     for Team USA, it's the attitude" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/19).  

          General Mills officials said that the gold medal-
     winning U.S. women's hockey team "appears to be the leading
     candidate to adorn the commemorative post-Olympics Wheaties
     box," according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR-
     TRIBUNE.  Weiner reports, however, that there could be a
     "hitch" involving Team USA's Jenny Schmidgall, a Univ. of MN
     recruit who "could lose her eligibility" if featured.  NCAA
     Dir of Member Services Steve Mallonee said that Schmidgall's
     name nor picture would not be allowed to appear on the
     cereal box.  One option for Wheaties would be to place just
     a few of the players on the box (STAR TRIBUNE,2/19).
          NOTES: TNT will replay the third period of the U.S.-
     Canada gold medal game today, at approximately 5:00pm ET
     (TNT)....NHL Ice, the official web site of the NHL,
     announced the online availability of merchandise celebrating
     the USA Women's gold medal, including locker room T-shirts
     and hats, replica jerseys, sweatshirts and photos (NHL).