The '98 Goodwill Games will begin on Saturday night with an "explosive, star-studded opening ceremony" in New York City's Battery Park as "organizers try to overcome lackluster ticket sales," according to Tara George of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Ray Charles, Brandy and Hootie & The Blowfish are among the performers who will kick-off the event. Ticket sales "have been sluggish" for the two-week long event, as "about" 200,000 of a total of 500,000 tickets have been sold (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/17). Goodwill Games Founder and Time Warner Vice Chair Ted Turner is interviewed in both USA TODAY and the N.Y. TIMES. Turner tells USA TODAY's Martzke & Weir that the Games are "not losing" money. Turner: "It's not going to even come close to what the losses are going to be for the NFL rightsholders." Asked about the changing mission of the Games in the international arena since their inception in '86, Turner said, "Whenever you have any kind of multination gathering for fun and for sport, that's a very good thing, and there's not very much of that going on in the world today" (USA TODAY, 7/17). Turner tells Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES, "You can't get too much good will." The site of the next Games, scheduled for 2001, is "expected" to be Asia or Australia. Goodwill Games President Michael Plant say that "last-minute marketing, much of it targeted to various ethnic groups, will lead to substantial walk-up sales." But ISI President Frank Vuono said the Games are "not making our radar screen. It's like a tree falling in the forest and no one being there. I haven't seen its message" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17). NEWSDAY's Shaun Powell writes, "The success of the Goodwill Games will either support or destroy the notion, silly as it sounds, that an Olympics in New York would work" (NEWSDAY, 7/17). TV TIME OUT: TBS will televise 45 hours of prime-time coverage, while CBS will have ten hours of weekend coverage. (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/17). Ratings for the previous Games were: a 1.8 in '86 on TBS, a 2.7 in '90 on TBS and a 1.4 on TBS and a 2.7 a ABC in '94 (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17). SCHILLER'S LIST: Turner Sports President Harvey Schiller is profiled by Michael Hiestand in USA TODAY's sports cover story. Schiller "might have the sports world's most diverse management experience and holds one of its most wide-ranging jobs" (USA TODAY, 7/17)....Time Warner's 2Q income tripled to $101M, "beating analysts' forecasts (L.A. TIMES, 7/17).