Clippers Still Can't Find the Right Ticket for Prime Viewing

Leave it to the Clippers--they've lost another one.

The team was trying to make a deal with Prime Ticket, but negotiations have broken off.

Sources said the problem essentially was that the Clippers wanted more money than the Lakers get, which is about $95,000 a game.

With the acquisition of Bo Kimble, things are looking up for the Clippers, but are they hardly worth more than the Lakers.

Now it appears the Clippers are left to accept whatever SportsChannel offers or rely solely on Channel 5 for local TV revenue.

The bad thing for viewers is less access to the Clippers. Prime Ticket reaches 4.1 million homes. SportsChannel, which costs extra, reaches fewer than 150,000.

The principals in the negotiations--John Severino, Prime Ticket president, and Bob Steele, chief executive office of the Donald Sterling Corp.--declined comment.

Channel 4's planned boycott of PGA Championship highlights has been called off.

Earlier this week, the station's sports department announced that it would not show highlights of next week's tournament as a way of protesting Shoal Creek Country Club's all-white membership policy.

But that plan was rescinded after the Birmingham, Ala., club accepted a black member. Channel 4 had intended to report the daily results of the tournament.

"My producers and I feel so strongly about discrimination that we felt it was important to speak out," said Fred Roggin, the station's sports director, from New York, where he was attending meetings of NBC football announcers. "We did a strong commentary two weeks ago, but we wanted to do more. Our aim was to avoid publicizing Shoal Creek by showing the course."

NBC has done some re-aligning of its pro football announcers. The significant changes:

--Todd Christensen replaces Merlin Olsen as Charlie Jones' partner. Olsen is now at CBS.

--Joel Meyers' partner will be Ahmad Rashad, with Meyers' former partner, Paul Maguire, joining Marv Albert.

--Don Criqui will be teamed with Bob Trumpy.

--Newcomer Cris Collinsworth will be paired with play-by-play man Jim Donovan.

--Roggin will work at least one game with San Diego counterpart Jim Laslavic of Channel 39 and is tentatively scheduled to fill in for Jones and work with Christensen on the Raider-Charger game in San Diego Oct. 21.

The NFL exhibition season opens this weekend with the Hall of Fame game between Chicago and Cleveland on ABC Saturday at 10 a.m., Seattle and Denver on ESPN Saturday night at 5 from Tokyo and the Raiders and New Orleans on NBC Sunday at 10 a.m. from London.

The NFL has made several moves to speed up games this season, mainly reducing halftime from 15 minutes to 12 and the time between plays from 30 seconds to 25.

Also, in most cases, the clock will start as soon as the referee signals, rather than with the snap, except for the final two minutes of the first half and final five minutes of the game.

There have been discussions about using Bob Miller only on Prime Ticket telecasts of the Kings, which would be a mistake. As with Chick Hearn, when you have an announcer the caliber of a Bob Miller, you use him on both radio and TV, despite any drawbacks.

The plan is for Miller to do the telecasts with a new commentator, possibly former King Jim Fox, now an executive with the club, and for Nick Nickson and another new commentator to handle the radio broadcasts.

San Diego-based XTRA (690), the Kings' new flagship station, is becoming more and more sports-oriented.

It recently added all-night sports programming that runs from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m., including talk and trivia segments. The syndicated programming, called "The Sports Final," comes from Star Communications in Boston and is also carried by 85 other stations nationwide.

Former "Sportstalk" hosts Bud Furillo and Tommy Hawkins will appear on the KABC radio show with Ed (Superfan) Bieler Monday at 5 p.m.

The station planned to have more of a reunion of former hosts, but most have scheduling conflicts or refused to appear.

Had all shown up, a referee might have been in order. They're not all exactly the best of friends.

Roy Englebrecht's annual sportscasting camp at Loyola Marymount begins today and runs through next Thursday, with 165 prospective sportscasters from 40 states participating. Instructors include Miller, the camp's co-director; Hearn, Al Conin, Roy Firestone and Joel Meyers. For details, call (714) 760-3131.

TV-Radio Notes

With Sunday Silence's retirement on Thursday, ABC announced it will not televise Saturday's Arlington Challenge as part of "Wide World of Sports." Sunday Silence, scheduled to run in the race, suffered a strained ligament in his left foreleg. . . . SportsChannel made it official Thursday. Ken Brett will be the pay-cable channel's new Angel commentator, replacing Joe Torre. . . . Paul Olden, named to replace Torre on KTLA and to fill in for Brett on radio when Brett is on SportsChannel, will be missing more "Sportsline" assignments. Jim Healy, asked if he might do some "Sportsline" fill-in work, said: "There are two chances of that, slimsky and nonesky. " . . . XTRA will carry radio coverage of the baseball Hall of Fame ceremony Sunday at 10:30 a.m. when Joe Morgan and Jim Palmer are inducted.

With CBS losing the NBA to NBC, Hubie Brown, rather than staying at CBS as a college basketball analyst, has left the network to join TBS as an NBA analyst. . . . TBS lost analyst Steve Jones to NBC. Jones will be paired with Bob Costas this season. . . . Sunday night's all-star game at the Forum, "A Midsummer Night's Magic," will be taped for showing on NBC Aug. 11. Although the NBC team of Marv Albert and Mike Fratello will announce the game, Prime Ticket is producing the coverage. . . . Recommended viewing: Bud Greenspan's outstanding "Seoul '88: 16 Days of Glory" will be shown on the Disney Channel Sunday night at 9, plus next Thursday and Aug. 15.

CBS' main college football announcing team will be Jim Nantz and Tim Brant, who replaces Pat Haden, now at TBS. The No. 2 team will be newcomer Brad Nessler, a former Atlantic Coast Conference announcer, and Dan Jiggetts. . . . Former Pitt coach Mike Gottfried has been hired as a football analyst by ESPN. . . . The Subaru NFL's Fastest Man competition, taped May 19 at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, will be on NBC's "SportsWorld" Sunday. Participants include Ron Brown and Willie Gault of the Raiders and Flipper Anderson of the Rams. . . . Brace yourself. Channel 7 is bringing back Todd Donoho's "Monday Night Live," that wacky show that aired after "Monday Night Football" last season. The first installment this year will be Aug. 13, after a New York Giant-Buffalo exhibition game.

Prime Ticket, beginning with quarterfinals tonight, is offering coverage of the Volvo/Los Angeles tennis tournament through the weekend. The announcers are Drew Goodman, Barry MacKay and Vitas Gerulaitis. . . . ESPN has acquired the rights to the richest tennis tournament in history, the $6-million Grand Slam Cup, to be played in Munich in December. The winner in the 16-man field will get $2 million.

Boxing beat: HBO has an attractive tripleheader coming up Aug. 11 from Caesars Tahoe, with Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor and Hector (Macho) Camacho on the card. . . . On the market now is a 90-minute video, "Two Faces of a Champion," which shows Mike Tyson's destruction of Carl (the Truth) Williams, followed by his loss to Buster Douglas. . . . The USA network, in a call-in survey, asked viewers to pick who would win in a fight between George Foreman and Tyson. Would you believe 70% (9,958 viewers) voted for Foreman? . . . Kick boxing is the latest sport to try pay-per-view. A card featuring Bill (Superfoot) Wallace against Joe Lewis Monday night at 6 from Harrah's Tahoe is being distributed to cable systems by Viewer's Choice. The suggested price is $14.95.

Kudos to Channel 4 sports producer Jeff Hoffman for another outstanding steroids-related feature. This one was on Victor Bovino of Marina del Rey, who sells a product that masks steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs to avoid test detection. An athlete simply takes Bovino's product a few hours before he's scheduled to be tested. It's another example that steroid use won't go away until sports officials start getting serious about it.

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