An Honest
Day’s Word


By Joe Edwards

Wednesday, January 14, 1998


Buying teams will be next for networks

THIS and that to chew on over lunch:

You gotta admit, Disney doesn't Mickey Mouse around.

When I saw what CBS and Fox ponied up Monday to broadcast AFC and NFC games over the next eight years, I thought, "What a country!"

More than a billion dollars a year between the two networks.

But yesterday, Disney, which owns the majority of ABC and ESPN, stepped up and paid $9.2 billion to put Monday Night Football on ABC and the Sunday night games on ESPN.

Whoa!

NBC, which had broadcast pro football since 1964, was left holding CBS' old bag. As Charlie Brown might say on Halloween, "I got a rock."

Indeed.

A nice side snicker in the whole deal is that Ted Turner got a rock, too. He's basically the major stockholder in Time Warner, which owns Turner Network, which got aced out of the Sunday night schedule.

Oh well, he still has the Braves and the Hawks and the news and all those movies, and I'm pretty sure Jane won't leave him for Rupert Murdoch.

The players are going to love it, and for once, maybe even the fans are winners, at least the ones who watch the games on TV. Teams, in theory, should now have more room to sign their players, which could help keep the hometown 11 intact.

Owners, of course, will tell fans that since salaries have gone up, the price of tickets will increase as well. And let's face it, most guys like you and me can't afford to go to many NFL games as it is. Cheap tickets to most games run about 30 bucks a pop.

My question to the whole thing is this: Couldn't the networks have bought every team in the league for less than $17 billion?

If they paid, say, $300 million for each team, that's only $9 billion. Most owners - not Jerry Jones, of course - would be happy to give up their team for $300 million. Half of them aren't worth half that much.

The networks would then have free programming forever and a great revenue stream selling beer, sneakers and pickup trucks.

Sound far-fetched? That day is coming, folks. Murdoch will see to it, I guarantee.

The Rainbow basketball team is only one game into a 14-game WAC schedule, but they're already faced with a must-win weekend.

These games are not on the road, so they have a great chance to win both. But if disaster strikes and they somehow lose to the Methodists and the Christians from Texas, they can kiss their NCAA bid goodbye.

It was a sad sight Saturday. Not only did the 'Bows get cranked by San Diego State, they acted like punks when the game was on the line.

This team is having a wonderful season, so far, but in their two losses, the fellas haven't handled adversity well.

Eight points down with four minutes to play in the other guy's gym is no time to start throwing forearms or pushing players off the floor after the whistle has blown. I don't care how much the other guy is jaw-jacking you.

If you want to be big-time, guarding somebody before they're two feet from the hoop and sticking the ball in the hole at your end is a much better way to shut their mouths.

There is no excuse for being outhustled and outworked.

Fortunately, coach Riley Wallace made no such excuses.

The good news is, there is still time to get their act back in sync. But you just know Billy Tubbs will have TCU ready to play Monday night. And after that comes a road trip to Rice and Tulsa. Those two aren't playing great ball right now, but when you play like road worriers, nothing comes easy.

The time to start sucking it up was last week, but since the 'Bows blew that opportunity, now would be fine.



Joe Edwards is sports editor of the Star-Bulletin.




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