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CBS, TBS & HBO to give games Goodwill effort

NEW YORK — The 1998 Goodwill Games competition has come up with a new wrinkle: Ted Turner is billing it as the first time ever that a broadcast network (CBS), a basic-cable network (TBS) and a paycable channel (HBO) have banded together to cover a sports or entertainment event.

To take place in New York City July 19-Aug. 2, 1998, the games will get their main exposure on TBS, which will cablecast 45 hours’ worth of live primetime events over the 15-day period.

The 15 days encompass three weekends, which is when CBS’ coverage kicks in for a total of 10 weekend hours. HBO will do the honors by slotting the highest-profile boxing matches in its Saturday “Boxing After Dark” umbrella series. TBS and CBS will also schedule some prizefights in their coverage.

Ted Turner founded the Goodwill Games in 1986 as a quadrennial gesture of peace when the Cold War was continuing to cause tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Games took place in Moscow in 1986, Seattle in 1990 and St. Petersburg in Russia in 1994.

The purpose of the Games now is to benefit such children’s-welfare organizations as Unicef and the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of America. Turner will promote an effort to get viewers to volunteer their time to the local clubs.

Turner expects to invite hundreds of athletes from more than 60 countries to compete in 12 sports, vying for $5 million in prize money, the fattest purse ever for a multisport event.

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