ABC flips for Game 7 of Series

There were no pistols at 20 paces or slaps across the face to decide which network got the seventh game of the World Series, just three men -- NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol, his ABC counterpart, Dennis Swanson, and The Baseball Network chief Ken Schanzer -- and a specially minted All-Star Game coin in a New York office yesterday morning.

Ebersol called heads, the coin landed tails, and ABC had captured the right to telecast Game 7, if it's necessary, scheduled for Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in a National League city to be determined. ABC also will telecast games 1, 4 and 5, and NBC will have games 2, 3 and 6.


The coin flip was necessary because ABC and NBC, which along with Major League Baseball banded together to form The Baseball Network, will be pulling out of the venture after this season. Because there was no postseason last year, this year's playoffs had to be divvied up.

The parties agreed earlier on the rotation for the first six Series games, but had to meet yesterday to flip for Game 7.


In a scheduling quirk, ABC is lined up to telecast the final games of all three playoff rounds, if they reach that point.

More women's hoops coverage

The Prime network of regional sports channels yesterday unveiled a 10-game weekly schedule of women's basketball telecasts -- the first such national package for the sport -- running from Dec. 17 through Feb. 25.

The games will air live each Sunday at 7 p.m., except for a noon game on Super Bowl Sunday, with games from five top conferences + the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Pac-10, Southwest and Southeastern -- including a Jan. 21 meeting between Maryland and North Carolina.

An all-woman broadcast team -- Tracy Warren, Nancy Lieberman-Cline and Leandra Reilly -- will call the action for Prime, which also will telecast the semifinals and finals of the women's preseason National Invitation Tournament.

A Prime programming executive said the network is looking for major advertisers to fill commercial blocks. Prime will pay $5,000 in rights fees for each telecast.

'SportsCenter' shift

So you say you can't live without the 11 p.m. ESPN "SportsCenter," but you've had to make do, because ESPN pre-empts the show on Wednesdays for baseball coverage.


Well, if you have ESPN2 (sorry, city residents), you won't have to make do anymore, because the Deuce airs "SportsCenter" at 11 each Wednesday through this month.

Moves and acquisitions

Thanks to a certain record-breaking shortstop, we've been a little tardy in noting some of these network moves, but on the theory that late is better than never, we note the following:

* CBS has re-upped with the Sun Bowl, the second-oldest bowl game, for multiple years. The game, which had been played under the John Hancock moniker before returning to its original name, will air Dec. 29 at 2:30 p.m. and feature teams from the Big Ten and Pac-10 in El Paso, Texas, as the kickoff to CBS's national championship weekend.

* ESPN has extended its contract with the U.S. Golf Association through 1999 and will beef up its U.S. Open coverage.

The network will provide 18-hole coverage of any playoffs at the Senior or Women's opens, as well as a total of eight hours of telecasts at each on Thursday and Friday, along with 30-minute preview programs before the start of the tournaments.


As for the men's open, ESPN will carry a minimum of 11 live hours of the tournament, as well as 30-minute preview shows on Monday and Tuesday, a one-hour show on Wednesday and hour-long, prime-time wrap-ups Thursday through Sunday. In the event of a playoff, ESPN will handle the first two hours, with NBC picking up the rest until conclusion.