The Fox and the Ducks

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks filed suit last week against West L.A.-based Fox Sports West, claiming the cable sports network damaged its reputation and jeopardized merchandise sales and game attendance by shifting the team's games to a little-watched startup network.

Fox last month shifted Ducks games from Fox Sports West to its new Fox Sports West 2, a Southern California regional sports network. Two of the region's biggest cable systems operators, Continental Cablevision Inc. and Century Communications Corp., have refused to carry the new network, which now can only be seen by about 400,000 subscribers.

According to the suit, many fans are angry about no longer being able to see the Ducks on television. The team's contract with Fox Sports West expires in 1998, the suit said.

After that time, analysts believe the Ducks may leave the network, considering that the team is owned by Walt Disney Co. which also owns the ESPN and ESPN 2 sports networks.

Low ranking for L.A.

Los Angeles and Orange counties ranked only No. 30 on this year's list of the top 50 entrepreneurial regions in the U.S. by Cambridge, Mass.-based Cognetics Inc.

According to the economic research firm, Salt Lake City is the country's biggest hot spot for enterpreneurs. This is the second year in a row that the Utah community has topped the Cognetics list, which is compiled by economist David Birch.

The study ranks metropolitan regions based on the proportion of young startups with more than five employees to total businesses. Although L.A. ranked well behind such entrepreneurial hotbeds as Atlanta, Birmingham and Phoenix, it was the top region for growing young companies in California.

The San Francisco Bay Area placed No. 31 on the list, and San Diego was No. 33.

California in general had a suprisingly poor showing on the state rankings, placing only No. 18. Critics of the Birch survey pointed out that California still has far more entrepreneurial companies than any other state, and the proportional basis of the Cognetics study makes its results decieving.

Around the dial

Viacom Inc. is reportedly looking for buyers for its 10-station radio group, which includes two FM stations based in Burbank.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Viacom rejected an offer of $700 million from Walt Disney Co. for the entire group, and the company is now considering a plan to break the group up and sell individual stations. Analysts value the 10 stations at between $700 million and $900 million.


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