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Volume 24 No. 158
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          Despite asking CBS to relocate a platform to avoid
     blocking seats, NCAA Dir of Div. I men's basketball
     championships/administration Bill Hancock called yesterday's
     tour of Tropicana Field "the smoothest ... walk-through
     we've ever had."  Hancock: "Every question I asked, they had
     already discussed and answered" (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/25).     
          HOOP TALK: Personalities from ESPN, CNN/SI and Fox
     Sports Net descend upon the city starting today, according
     to Ernest Hooper of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES.  ESPN will
     have one of the larger sets, as Chris Fowler, Dick Vitale
     and Digger Phelps will host daily segments from The Pier in
     St. Petersburg.  "The Sports Reporters" will also air from
     The Pier on Sunday, with host Dick Schaap, along with Mike
     Lupica, John Feinstein, Bill Conlin and Fresno St. coach
     Jerry Tarkanian.  CNN/SI will set up at NCAA Hoops City in
     the Tampa Convention Center (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/24).  During
     the games, CBS "will strategically place" celebrities from
     its shows in the crowd at Tropicana Field, including Ken
     Olin of "L.A. Doctors," Craig Kilborn of the "Late, Late
     Show" and Kevin James of "King of Queens."  Actors Jack
     Nicholson and Kevin Costner and former U.S. Sen. Bill
     Bradley are also expected to attend (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/24).
          CORPORATE BACKING: On CBS MarketWatch, John Thorsberg
     reported on the NCAA's corporate partners, who range from
     AmEx, GTE and Compaq to GM, Pepsi and Sears.  Overall, about
     25% of the ads during this year's tournament on CBS were
     purchased by the corporate partners (CBS MarketWatch, 3/21).
          NOTES: To combat illegal ticket scalping, Tropicana
     Field is stationing 140 private security guards and 30-40
     police officers inside and around the dome during the games. 
     Undercover detectives dressed as college basketball fans
     will escort anyone caught scalping tickets off facility
     grounds (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/24)....Though Tropicana Field
     seats 40,500, Ohio St. Univ., along with the other three
     schools in the Final Four, will only receive 3,500 tickets
     each. Of those, 1,400 will be distributed in an OSU ticket
     lottery, while the rest will be used for athletic department
     and university officials, boosters and travel packages. 
     Face value of the tickets is $105 (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 3/24).
     ...In Chicago, David Schwartz writes that the Big Ten has
     earned $8.9M, the "biggest postseason basketball payout
     ever," for placing seven teams in the NCAA Tournament and
     winning 13 games through the first four rounds.  The revenue
     will be distributed evenly among the 11 Big Ten schools
     (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/25)....A 19-year-old CA teenager, Alicia
     Brown, will have a chance to win $1M in the Gillette 3-Point
     Challenge, to take place at the Tampa Convention Center
     between Saturday's Final Four games (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/25).