Goodwill Follows Olympics Down Under


Despite the fact the big time difference may preclude livecoverage in the U.S., the Goodwill Games will originate from Australia in late 2001 onTurner Network Television, nearly one year after the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics air onNBC.

That marks the first time that the Goodwill Games will takeplace in a country other than the U.S. or the former Soviet Union.

That's partly because the Turner Broadcasting SystemInc.-created event began as a way of offsetting the chill of the Cold War, which has beenthawed out of existence. Beyond that, Turner Sports president Harvey Schiller said,"We see the Goodwill Games as a global event."

"There's a long lineup for future winter andsummer Goodwill Games," he said, including many "major European cities."For the winter games, Calgary in Western Canada, and virtually every other nationthat's hosted a Winter Olympics is in the Goodwill hunt, he added.

The 2001 Goodwill event will span 12 days (Aug. 29 to Sept.9), which is "about average," he said. Because the 16-hour time lag betweenAustralia and the Eastern U.S. is difficult to overcome, the bulk of the Goodwill coverage-- like NBC's Summer Olympics next fall -- will have to be pretaped.

Still, "there's a possibility some of it will belive," Schiller said.

Unlike previous Goodwill outings, TBSI will have nobroadcast television network partner for the upcoming winter and summer events. In thepast, CBS tied in. "We don't need that anymore," Goodwill Games presidentMike Plant said last March.

Nor is there a sister Turner or Time Warner networkinvolved -- yet. In the past, TBS Superstation and Home Box Office have shared somecoverage. But Schiller said he has not yet ruled out a sister network's involvement.

The first winter Goodwill Games -- due next year (Feb. 17to Feb. 20) in Lake Placid, N.Y. -- will feature professional figure the first time,Schiller said, in three nights of competition and an "Exhibition of Champions."

Under an agreement with Tom Collins Enterprises'Champions on Ice, such female skating stars as Nancy Kerrigan, Katarina Witt, Oksana Baiuland Dorothy Hamill and such male skaters as Brian Boitano, Victor Petrenko and Brian Orserwill compete.

"A number of sponsors have been signed," saidSchiller. "Most [sponsorships] have been completed now," he said, but Turner isnot ready to announce them yet.

For the 2001 summer coverage, "most of the sponsorsinvolved in the New York Goodwill Games [last year] have shown interest in Brisbane,"he added.

When asked if there have been ongoing talks aboutSchiller's joining George Steinbrenner's soon-to-be-formed sports team holdingcompany YankeeNets, Schiller responded, "That's still a rumor."

YankeeNets, announced last February, would combine thebusiness interests of baseball's New York Yankees and basketball's New JerseyNets.