Can Music Soothe the Nervous Boxer?


You'd figure with all the controversy surrounding his boxing promoter, Oscar De La Hoya would be worried about when his next fight will be. Instead, De La Hoya is sweating the Oct. 10 release of his new CD.The pop-oriented recording includes 10 Spanish and three English songs to give him a unique crossover appeal. As far as his boxing career is concerned, a press release last week announced that Univision president and CEO Jerry Perenchio is his new boxing promoter and negotiator, replacing longtime promoter Bob Arum. Of course, Arum, who said he has a signed contract with De La Hoya, immediately filed suit against Perenchio and Univision for interference. Home Box Office, which televises De La Hoya's fights, released a statement last week saying that it has "a long-term, exclusive contract with Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank" and hopes for "a speedy resolution to Oscar De La Hoya's promotional dispute."

.Last week's House hearing on the America Online Inc. merger with Time Warner Inc. didn't draw the media horde that the Federal Communications Commission's public forum did in late July. AOL chairman and CEO Steve Case and Time Warner chairman and CEO Gerald Levin were punctual for the 9 a.m. session,but all the members of the telecommunications subcommittee showed up late except for chairman Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who engaged Case and Levin in some small talk.At one point during the wait for other House members to arrive, Tauzin said to the CEOs, "I hope this doesn't hurt either one of your egos, but we had a much bigger crowd at the Firestone hearing."

.CNBC has been running a series of puff pieces about sponsors of the Sydney Olympics. This raised The Wire's brow, considering NBC has boasted that it sold those companies $900 million in advertising for the games.Intrepid CNBC reporter Liz Claman visited The Coca-Cola Co.'s tent at Sydney's Darling Harbor on Sept. 22, where she got the scoop on all of the Olympic pin-trading activity. She also lobbed a few softballs at unidentified Coke executives, including: "One thing that has never wavered from your business standpoint is your support of the Olympics. Why is that so important for Coke?"

A day earlier, Claman filed a similar gem on United Parcel Service of America Inc., breaking the news that "UPS is using its role in the Olympics to help deliver the message that it's aggressively pursuing a global marketplace." After Claman asked UPS CEO James Kelly why his company spent $40 million to be a sponsor, the conversation quickly turned to pin trading.

NBC sponsor Swatch Group was the focus of a Claman story last Wednesday, when she told viewers "if there's a clock ticking at the Olympics, it could only be Swatch who's behind the face." She also pointed out that for Swatch, "the commercial alliance with the Olympics is a calculated business move." Claman also interviewed Foster's Brewing Group CEO Ted Kunkel, another NBC sponsor. "He appears to be a man without airs or an entourage; just a guy that appreciates a good glass of beer," Claman told the viewers, before reminding them that Foster's trades on the Australian Stock Exchange.

NBC sponsors Home Depot, McDonalds Corp., and Eastman Kodak Co. also fell under Claman's bubbly spotlight in Sydney. A CNBC spokeswoman defended Claman's reporting. "She went down there to cover the business of the Olympics. To cover the business of the Olympics you cover the sponsors of the Olympics," the spokeswoman said.

.Playing the name game: Romance Classics and Odyssey Network both plan to rebrand soon, but AMC Networks president Kate McEnroe and Odyssey president Margaret Loesch didn't give any hints as panelists at the International Radio & Television Society Foundation luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria last week. For Odyssey, the problem is that the description family-oriented network "has become synonymous with children's television." Meanwhile,Romance wants to be seen as "an alternative women's network" that serves as "a sanctuary, an oasis" for working women,McEnroe said. Afterward, McEnroe disclosed that the company has narrowed down its field of prospective names to two, with other network sources expecting the decision before the Western Show.