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Volume 24 No. 116

Sports Media

          Flyers C Eric Lindros will "receive an apology and
     money for a charity of his choice" from WIP-AM to settle a
     claim after one of WIP's talk-show hosts reported that
     Lindros missed a game last season because he was "hungover,"
     according to Tim Panaccio of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. 
     Details of the settlement should be worked out by month's
     end, but those familiar with it said the station would
     "issue a written apology," Lindros would receive "financial
     compensation" from WIP which will go to charity, and WIP
     would "broadcast news of the settlement during its station
     breaks."  In addition, the deal stipulates that the
     situation "will not be discussed" by on-air talent or by
     callers to the station.  The Flyers and the Lindros family
     "have been pushing" CBS, WIP's parent company, to impose
     "strict guidelines" on WIP hosts as to what can be "reported
     as news and what they can discuss as rumor."  Craig Carton,
     the talk-show host who made the claim, left WIP in July and
     declined to comment yesterday (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/25).

          TV: Fox's Monday night boxing card got a 4.3/6 national
     rating, while the Academy Awards broadcast on ABC averaged a
     34.9/55 (John Carmody, WASHINGTON POST, 3/25)....Fox
     VP/Media Relations Lou D'Ermilio told the L.A. TIMES that
     the network expects to have the FoxTrax glowing puck back by
     the playoffs (L.A. TIMES, 3/24)....CBS Sports will air "The
     Great Skate Debate" Friday night at 9:00pm ET.  The live
     figure skating competition will be judged by the live
     audience and home viewers, who will vote via the Internet
     (N.Y. TIMES, 3/25)....CBS's first NFL telecast since '94
     will be the 49ers-Seahawks American Bowl game in Vancouver
     on August 15 (USA TODAY, 3/25)....MEDIAWEEK's Langdon
     Brockinton reports that the Ravens are "looking to create" a
     half-hour weekly kids show.  Ravens VP/Sales & Marketing
     David Cope said that talks "are underway" with Baltimore
     stations on the show, which would air on Saturday or Sunday
     mornings this fall.  The team wants a time-buy where it
     would sell the ad inventory (MEDIAWEEK, 3/23 issue).
          MARCH MADNESS: Although CBS is experiencing its highest
     ratings for the men's NCAA tournament in four years,
     basketball analyst Billy Packer says, "The ratings are so
     ridiculous.  Name me any other event that has such a
     following.  You cannot go anywhere in America where people
     aren't involved in the tournament."  Packer, on statements
     he made regarding "60 Minutes" and its stories on college
     basketball: "I haven't heard from anyone in [CBS]. ... I may
     be full of it on this, but somebody has to explain to me how
     somebody in our organization can go out to hurt our
     relationship with the NCAA, which was most critical to us
     until the NFL deal" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 3/25)....In
     DC, Tony Kornheiser wrote on the NCAA tournament: "You can
     keep the NBA. ... Give me this tournament."  He adds, "It's
     gratifying to know TV ratings are up.  It means the American
     public has some sense about sports and the compelling
     theater of this tournament" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/24).
     ...Finalfour.net, the official site of the NCAA men's and
     women's tournaments, has had 7 million visits so far.  The
     site, produced by Total College Sports Network, has set a
     record for online traffic, recording 92,145,116 hits and
     36,859,597 page views.  Last year's tournament site got 34
     million hits for the entire tournament (TCSN).
          GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR? In N.Y., Steve Zipay reported that
     MSG is negotiating with WJWR-AM, One-on-One Sports, to carry
     Liberty and MetroStars games (Steve Zipay, NEWSDAY 3/24).
          

          Former 49ers TE Brent Jones will join CBS Sports as a
     studio analyst on the "NFL Today" pregame, halftime and
     postgame show (CBS Sports).  In S.F., Susan Slusser reports
     that House Speaker Newt Gingrich "tried to pry" Jones away
     from his TV plans when Jones "expressed an interest in
     entering politics" after his retirement.  Jones: "I was
     getting a lot of calls from top Republicans and ... Gingrich
     called and said 'We need you to come back and spend a few
     days with us in Washington.'  It was very tempting, but I
     stuck to my guns."  Slusser reports that Jones signed a
     multiyear deal with CBS, and that the net "is still looking"
     for two more studio analysts (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/25). Jones
     retained The Marquee Group in NY to represent him in all
     broadcasting negotiations (THE DAILY).
          ELWAY JOINING JONES? In Denver, Todd Phipers reports
     that an industry source said John Elway "is in contact" with
     CBS regarding a position at the net, but CBS Sports
     President Sean McManus dismissed the report.  McManus: "We
     have not talked to John Elway, and everything I've heard is
     that he is going to play another year" (DENVER POST, 3/25).

          PGA Tour Radio, which reaches 17 of the top 50 U.S.
     radio markets, is "redefining itself and its approach to
     covering the game," according to Dale Gardner of GOLFWEEK. 
     While CEO Warren Elliott say the changes are a result of
     "baptism by fire," GOLFWEEK's Gardner writes, "They're also
     survival tactics."  The Atlanta-based company has "pulled"
     its mobile studio and production truck "off" the Tour.  Live
     tournament coverage, which used to be produced from the site
     of the event, will now be done from its Atlanta studio using
     TV feeds and "natural sound" feeds (GOLFWEEK, 3/21).
          AD RATES DROP: PGA Tour Radio has "cut its advertising
     rates in an effort to make itself competitive with other
     media," and corporate sponsor packages which used to cost
     $50,000 will now sell for $20,000 a week.  During
     programming, the net splits the ad time with the affil.  PGA
     Tour Radio airs 36 events over the year, and Gardner writes
     that stations in 17 markets "included the play-by-play
     weekend shows for most of the events," while 28 others
     broadcast play-by-play for 12 to 15 events.  Gardner adds
     that most of the network's 208 affiliates "opt not to carry
     the play-by-play, choosing instead to participate in other
     programming offered by the company" (GOLFWEEK, 3/21 issue).