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Volume 24 No. 155

Sports Media

          USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke reports that with the Bulls-
     Pacers series heading for at least a Game Six, NBC has added
     "close to" $10M in ad sales (USA TODAY, 5/27).  In Chicago,
     Fred Mitchell wrote that NBC execs are "nervous" at the
     possibility of a Pacers-Jazz NBA Finals.  But NBA Senior
     VP/Communications Brian McIntyre said, "A lot of people want
     to see the Bulls because of their international popularity. 
     But I think the NBA Finals are at the stage now that the
     event dictates it more than the participants" (CHICAGO
     TRIBUNE, 5/25)....In DC, Washington Sports & Entertainment
     VP/Communications Matt Williams "formally registered a
     complaint" with WUSA-TV for airing comments from Capitals
     coach Ron Wilson while he was miked by the station during
     practice.  On the tape, Wilson made some derogatory remarks
     about the Sabres, calling them a "chicken----" team
     (WASHINGTON POST, 5/27)....Comcast will pay $500M for a
     "major stake" in Jones Intercable, making Comcast the
     nation's No. 3 cable TV operator, behind only Time Warner
     and TCI (USA TODAY, 5/26)....The WTA Tour "is expected to
     announce" a deal today with Eurosport to broadcast 80
     women's pro tennis tournaments on European TV in '99 (USA
     TODAY, 5/27)....ESPN Classic Sports introduces two new shows
     in June: "Big Fights Boxing Hour" on Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET
     and "Schaap One-on-One," an interview show with Dick Schaap,
     on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm ET (N.Y. POST, 5/27). 

          The NFL "is expected to announce an agreement" today
     with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN Internet Group to produce the, according to Stefan Fatsis of the WALL STREET
     JOURNAL.  Sources "familiar" with the deal said that ESPN
     will pay "close to" $10M over three years, extending a two-
     year-old relationship with the league.  Fatsis writes that
     while the deal "is a fraction" of the NFL's TV deal, it is
     "revenue from a medium that one day could yield big money"
     and "far exceeds" the approximately $1M the NFL received
     over the last two years for its Web site deal (WALL STREET
     JOURNAL, 5/27).  Jay Sherman of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
     writes that the deal "could mark a pivotal point in the
     maturation of the Internet" as it "involved a bidding war
     between at least two Web shops and carried with it a fairly
     high price tag."  Sherman puts the deal at $10-12M, and
     writes that SportsLine USA and Fox's News America "bowed
     out" of talks, "believing contract terms made it difficult
     to make money on the deal" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/27).

          The Big Four TV networks closed their season "on a sour
     note" as none had ratings gains "for the first time in more
     than a decade," according to USA TODAY's Gary Levin, who
     wrote that fledgling nets WB and UPN "have nibbled" away at
     the major nets' audience, while cable's growth has also
     "drained viewers."  NBC led the Nielsens this year with a
     10.2/17 average (-3%); CBS averaged a 9.6/16 (-4%); ABC a
     8.4/14 (-4%); and Fox a 7.1/12 (-8%) (USA TODAY, 5/26).  
          RATINGS: For a full listing of weekend ratings, see
     (#30)....In Boston, WABU-TV drew the highest rating in its
     five-year history Friday night for the Yankees-Red Sox 
     series opener, earning a 13.1/23.  Sox games on WABU this
     year have averaged in the high 7s and low 8s (BOSTON GLOBE,
     5/27)....In the January-March ratings survey, N.Y.'s WFAN-AM
     averaged 2.2% of the total audience, down from 2.8% in the
     October-December period.  One-On-One Sports affil, WJWR-AM,
     which didn't "show up" in the survey, says it has "planted a
     foot on the turf of WFAN" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/27).