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Volume 24 No. 117
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          In an effort to offset its new $4.8B NFL deal, ESPN is
     "pushing cable operators to pay up to 20% more money in
     license fees" starting August 1, according to John Dempsey
     of DAILY VARIETY.  Cable system execs say they're being
     asked to pay increases that "could funnel as much as" $156M
     in additional revenues to ESPN, which would "go on top of"
     the $536.9M that ESPN "harvested" from cable-operator
     license fees in '97.  Also, according to sources, ESPN has
     told cable operators that "if they sign new contracts by
     June 1, they'll get a break in pricing," and that the break
     will be "extended if the cable system gets" ESPN into more
     than 95% of its households.  However, one cable operator
     said that "even with those price breaks," the fee increase
     "will propel his total bill to ESPN to more than $1 a month,
     making it by far the most expensive nationally distributed
     service for most cable operators" (DAILY VARIETY, 4/14).
          E-SPIN: ESPN announced late last week that it will
     provide 46 additional local 30-second spots to its affils in
     its 18-game NFL Sunday night package.  The total number of
     ads will increase 10% from 459 in '97 to 505 in '98.  ESPN
     will also increase local spots by 26% on all studio and NFL-
     related programming, including "NFL Primetime" (ESPN).