Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 156

Sports Media

          Leo Kirch, who holds the German rights to broadcast the
     2002 and 2006 World Cups and "has stakes in" German pay TV
     nets DF1 and Premiere, "will be required" to broadcast the
     World Cup matches on free TV, according to Miriam Hils of
     DAILY VARIETY.  The leaders of Germany's 16 states have
     approved a list of "protected" sporting events which must be
     shown "live on free TV," which include the international
     soccer championships.  Kirch paid $1.87M for rights to the
     World Cup (Miriam Hils, DAILY VARIETY, 3/19).
          SPORTEL IN MIAMI: In only its second year, TV market
     Sportel America "can already lay claim to being an essential
     port of call on the itinerary of global sports rights
     traders," according to Andrew Paxman of DAILY VARIETY.  The
     three-day Miami event, a "baby sister" to Sportel Monaco,
     saw attendance rise 40% over last year's debut, drawing 700
     participants and 57 exhibitors.  Last year, Sportel America
     had 34 exhibitors.  Co-organizer William Vitale said
     "[w]ithin two or three years" the event would be "as big as
     the one in Monaco."  Paxman writes that with this summer's
     World Cup approaching, "business was brisk for programmers
     hawking formats to complement" World Cup games, with Prisma
     striking "big" with its "Champions of the World" docu-series
     on soccer-playing nations.  Soccer also gave the event its
     "one major announcement: the Torneo Copa Merconorte."  That
     event, which features top clubs from the Americas, including
     two U.S. squads, and consists of 54 games between September
     and December of this year, is a coproduction between the
     South American Soccer Confederation and Teledeportes, a
     branch of Argentina's media group Clarin (VARIETY, 3/19).

          ESPN MAGAZINE REVIEWS: In L.A., Larry Stewart reviewed
     ESPN Magazine, writing that the photography and writing "are
     good," but that the magazine "is too big" and "too thick,"
     with "far too many ads," some of which "are hard to tell
     from the articles."  Stewart adds, "Sometimes you wonder who
     is publishing this magazine, ESPN or Nike.  The cover
     definitely has that Nike look, which isn't good."  More
     Stewart: "Maybe it's too early to be critical, but we're not
     canceling our [SI] subscription just yet" (L.A. TIMES,
     3/18).  But in Philadelphia, Stan Hochman gives the magazine
     a "7 on a harsh scale of ten."  Hochman: "Good stories spark
     questions, discussion, debate.  There are enough good
     stories in the first issue ... to make you think it will
     prosper" (Stan Hochman, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/19).
          TV/VIDEO: Although Red Sox GM Dan Duquette's agent John
     Flynn said his client was "very upset" over the team's
     decision to cancel his proposed TV show, Duquette said he
     understands the reasons behind the move.  The show was to
     air on WBZ-TV, which does not hold the team's broadcast
     rights.  Duquette: "The over-the-air rights are critical for
     our long-term success, and there may be other opportunities
     [for me] in the future" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/19)....In DC, CBS
     affil WUSA-TV "relied on a viewers' poll" to pick Game One
     of tonight's NCAA doubleheader, and 76% of respondents voted
     to watch the North Carolina-Michigan St. game over the West
     Virginia-Utah game.  The second game will be Maryland-
     Arizona (WASHINGTON POST, 3/19)....Ozzie Smith will return
     for his second year as host of "This Week In Baseball" this
     season (TWIB).  Smith will also work 30 Cardinals home game 
     broadcasts on KPLR-TV (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/19)....The
     Bengals reached a deal with CBS affil WKRC-TV to broadcast
     the team's four preseason games (Bengals)....ESPN Video has
     released "We Got Next: The Story Of The WNBA's Inaugural
     Season."  The video, with narration by Robin Roberts,
     retails for $14.99 (ESPN Video).
          HOLLYWOOD: Wayne Gretzky will be the first athlete to
     guest star on the new ABC drama, "The Game," which stars
     Luke Perry as a sports agent.  While the show is "certain to
     get sports star visits," Perry says it "will not be Love
     Boat with professional athletes" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/19).
     ....Ving Rhames, who recently portrayed Don King in HBO's
     "Only In America," will play former heavyweight boxer Sonny
     Liston in a Paramount-produced biopic to be directed by
     William Friedkin (Michael Fleming, DAILY VARIETY, 3/19).
          ONLINE: Web simulcasts of sports events are examined by
     Matt Richtel of the N.Y. TIMES.  CBS SportsLine President
     Ross Levinsohn said that Webcasts, which are now updated
     through audio and/or text only, will "eventually"
     incorporate video streaming and still shots "to make for a
     much richer experience."  Levinsohn: "We've just built the
     Edsel.  This is the forebear to the Rolls-Royce, which is
     still three to six years away" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).