Channel 13 to air U. S. opener after all

June 16, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

Channel 13, the local ABC-TV affiliate, has decided it will televise the United States' World Cup opener against Switzerland Saturday morning from Pontiac, Mich.

Marcellus Alexander, the station's vice president and general manager, made the announcement yesterday after a morning meeting with his programmers and a number of phone calls from upset viewers.

On Tuesday, Alexander said the station had no plans to carry the opener because it had a commitment to the high school quiz show "It's Academic," and that Channel 13 would not carry some of the nine games the network has scheduled.

Alexander said the station still will show games on June 25 and June 26, and then evaluate the size of the viewing audience before it decides to televise any other games.

"When we received the schedule from ABC three weeks ago, it didn't contain the list of the teams that were playing," said Alexander. "After getting more information last night, we found out it was the U.S. opener and we had to reconsider."

Alexander said he did not know how many calls the station had received in complaint.

Baltimore attorney Bruce Covahey was one of six people who signed a petition in protest of Channel 13 not airing the game, and he faxed it to the station Monday.

"I was on 'It's Academic' in high school, and I'd just as soon watch the World Cup," said Covahey.

Sam Mangione, a former soccer standout at Calvert Hall and Loyola College, also called Channel 13.

"I just want to let them know how people are feeling," said Mangione. "A number of people I've spoken to in the last couple days are outraged. I would understand if it was an Orioles game that was being broadcast, but not shows like 'American Gladiators' and 'It's Academic.' "

Alexander said soccer games usually have drawn a 1 to 2 share compared to a 19 share for the Orioles.

Channel 13 will join the Argentina-Nigeria game in progress after the Orioles-Toronto Blue Jays game on June 25, and then air the Romania vs. United States game on June 26.

WEEKEND TV SCHEDULE

Tomorrow * Germany vs. Bolivia at Chicago, 3:05 p.m. (ESPN)

* Spain vs. South Korea at Dallas, 7:35 p.m. (ESPN2)

Saturday * U.S. vs. Switzerland at Pontiac, Mich., 11:35 a.m. (Chs. 13, 7)

* Italy vs. Ireland at East Rutherford, N.J., 4:05 p.m. (ESPN)

* Colombia vs. Romania at Pasadena, Calif., 7:35 p.m. (ESPN)

Sunday * Belgium vs. Morocco at Orlando, Fla., 12:35 p.m. (ESPN)

* Norway vs. Mexico at Washington, 4:05 p.m. (ESPN)

* Cameroon vs. Sweden at Pasadena, 7:35 p.m. (ESPN2)

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