CBS SPORTSLINE VOWS TO CUT TIES TO SPORTSBOOK ONLINE SITE
CBS said that it "has received assurances" from
SportsLine USA that the Internet company "will sell off its
ownership" of Sportsbook.com, a Web address used by an
offshore betting service, according to ESPN.com's Tom
Farrey. CBS said in a release: "The network has taken
immediate action. SportsLine USA has assured CBS Sports
that the URL currently leased to Sportsbook.com will be
sold." The announcement came on Friday in response to a
ESPN.com report that SportsLine USA, 18% of which is owned
by NCAA TV partner CBS, makes money from Sportsbook.com, a
Web site that takes bets on the NCAA basketball tournament
(ESPN.com, 3/26). While ESPN.com posted the sportsbook
story on its main page all weekend, CBS SportsLine made no
mention of the impending sale on its Web site (THE DAILY).
MARKETING MADNESS: In St. Pete, Kyle Parks wrote that
"critics argue that the NCAA is getting too commercial," as
"more and more corporations get their names attached to the
Final Four." Pepsi "is making the biggest splash" by using
five Ford F-150 trucks to give away "more than" 60,000 cans
of its new Pepsi One. NCAA Exec Dir Cedric Dempsey: "I
don't think we've lost that balance to
overcommercialization." Parks writes that this year, 16
NCAA sponsors will pay $1-4M each to use the Final Four name
in TV and print ads and contests. Since '89, NCAA
sponsorship revenues have quadrupled to more than $20M
annually (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/28).
THIS HOUSE IS NOT A DOME: The NCAA received criticism
for holding the event at Tropicana Field. In Chicago, Jay
Mariotti: "Please, come back to the arenas. Dome is where
the heart ain't" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/29). In Phoenix, Dan
Bickley writes, "Shame on the NCAA. ... No reason for the
domes, except for greed" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/29). In DC,
Tony Kornheiser writes that housing the media and coaches in
Tampa and staging the games and press conferences in St.
Petersburg means that "getting from one spot to another
takes hours" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/29). On ESPN's "The Sports
Reporters," John Feinstein, on St. Pete: "Frankly, this is a
beautiful place ... but logistically it's a nightmare.
We're all spread out all over the map, you can't get
anywhere in traffic, the arena's terrible for basketball."
Mike Lupica: "Which IOC guy picked this venue? ... But the
flavor of the event is where there are central plazas" ("The
Sports Reporters," ESPN, 3/28).
ON THE UPSIDE: Nineteen-year-old Alicia Brown hit a
three-point shot worth $2M in the Gillette Challenge at the
Final Four on Saturday. Brown, coached by Rick Barry, won
$1M, while another $1M will be donated to the Susan Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation (PALM BEACH POST, 3/28). ...Ticket
brokers are "asking as much as $2,500" for a courtside seat
for tonight's final (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/29).