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The Los Angeles Times, March 4, 1975

WFL Needs TV But Does TV...?

By Charles Maher

Will there be a World Football League again this year? We don't know how many times we've been asked that question in recent months but it must have been more then twice.

So where do you go for an answer? Well, if they're going to try again to make their poem rhyme, they've got to have a television contract, right? Either that or they'll have to have higher ticket prices then the California Highway Patrol.

So we put in a call to Eddie Einhorn. He's president of TVS, the independent network that handled the league's national telecast last year.

"I got word it looks pretty good right now," Einhorn said from his office in New York .

"If it goes again," he was asked, "will you do the games?"

"Well," Einhorn said, "we've got an option to do them and if we exercise our option we'll do them. Is that a non-answer?"

"It's pretty close."

"Well, we just don't know if there's a league right now," Einhorn said, "so we can't start selling the thing. We'd have to have time to see if we could sell it (to sponsors). I think we can but if the league says it's going to go again we're not going to say immediately that we'll do it. We have to take a while to see what the reaction is."

"How long would it take?"

"Probably two or three weeks. If it goes again, it has to go on almost a flawless basis, which is the way I told them they should do it."

"What do you mean flawless?"

"I mean when they come with an announcement, you and the other people can't find any holes in it. If there are any credibility gaps, they're through. But if it's flawless I'd say they'll be back to where they were in the beginning last year."

"What kind of audiences did you get last season?"

"We did 7 ratings in the summer. We averaged about a 5 for the season, which isn't bad, considering."

"What would an NFL game get on a Sunday? A 12 or something like that?"

"Yeah, I guess Monday night does maybe a 15."

"What does a 5 mean in terms of numbers of viewers?"

"Something like 3 million homes per telecast, which translates into..."

Einhorn turned from the phone and asked someone in his office for a translation.

"Make that 3 1/2 million homes," Einhorn said. "That translates into 2 or 2 1/2 viewers per set. Times that by 20 and you can see there were a lot of people watching the WFL. We did 20 games. Sixty hours of prime time. Getting stations again would be no problem. They all did well, all made money on it."

"Did you make a fortune also?"

"No," Einhorn said, "we made bleep. Oh, we made some. Not commensurate with our effort. But it was good for us."

Just this past week there have been calls from WFL people to the office of the president of TVS. The president didn't offer to release tapes of those calls but said:

"Judging from the vibrations I've gotten, it seems like it's going to go."