Maryland State Lottery renews pact with WJZ

Three stations sought to televise drawings

Broadcasting

September 07, 2000|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN TELEVISION WRITER

The Maryland State Lottery has decided to back WJZ (Channel 13) for a new, five-year contract to broadcast its nightly drawings, the state agency yesterday informed the three Baltimore stations that contended for the multimillion-dollar deal.

Details have not been released, as terms of the contract are being kept private in anticipation of review by the state Board of Public Works later this fall. Both WBAL-TV (Channel 11) and WMAR (Channel 2) also sought the contract.

"We've just informed the proposers of the recommendation," said Buddy Roogow, director of the state lottery.

Jay Newman, general manager of WJZ, said the station hoped to build on the partnership with the agency that emerged over the current five-year contract. "The lottery is one of the highest-visibility, most popular local franchises that is available for broadcast on Maryland television stations," Newman said.

The CBS-owned station would receive no money under the terms of the deal, which hinges on the approval of the three-person public works panel. But, as part of its contract, WJZ could expect to receive the largest share of advertising revenue from the state lottery.

This year, the final year of the current contract, WJZ will receive $1.4 million of the agency's $14 million annual advertising budget. But the lottery also makes six-figure advertising "buys" on competing television stations.

"Going into this process, I felt pretty strongly that they were going to get a renewal," Bill Fine, WBAL's general manager, said of WJZ. "We were hoping against the odds to get the lottery. We thought it was important to put in a bid - these things only come up once every five years."

Under the current contract, WJZ airs 17 spots each week featuring the selection of numbers from balls moved randomly by air-compression machines. The state-sponsored gambling program spawned $1.17 billion in sales last year, with $659 million returned in prizes. Maryland got $400 million for general fund programs.

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