Tobias Jones on the men who see profits in the same ball-park as Rupert Murdoch

TED TURNER: Murdoch's bitter rival, Turner is vice-chairman of Time Warner, the company which bought his own Turner Broadcasting in 1996. Husband of actress Jane Fonda, Turner has used the Time Warner connection to add two other teams to the Atlanta Braves (major league baseball) which he bought in 1976: the Atlanta Hawks (in basketball's NBA), and an "expansion" team, the Atlanta Thrashers, who will begin playing in the National Hockey League in 1999. Time Warner, through Turner Broadcasting, owns the distribution rights to each team. The company also owns the national cable rights to the NBA. Closely connected to Joe Lewis (see below).

MICHAEL EISNER: Alongside Murdoch's Fox Television and Turner's Time Warner, Eisner's Disney (of which he is chairman and chief executive officer) is the other major player in America, owning clubs as well as broadcasting their games. Disney owns the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, an ice hockey side, and also the Anaheim Angels, a major league baseball team. Ownership of the clubs gives Disney, and its broadcasting arm, ESPN, broadcast rights to their games. The broadcasting rights for the entire National Hockey League are owned by ABC (terrestrial) and ESPN (cable), both of which are owned by Disney. Both channels bought the rights for NFL (American football) for a cool $9.2bn (pounds 5.75bn). Major League Baseball is broadcast nationally by Murdoch's Fox Television terrestrially, and by ESPN on cable.

SILVIO BERLUSCONI: The former Italian prime minister owns Fininvest, the parent holding company of Mediaset. A magazine and television conglomerate, the company has interests in cinemas, newspapers and the country's Channel 5 television company. "Il Cavaliere" was visited by Murdoch 10 days ago, shortly before he announced his interest in Manchester United. Berlusconi owns the Italian football giants AC Milan.

JOE LEWIS: Technically not a media mogul, but as his English National Investment Company signed a deal with Time Warner earlier this year, his dealings are a vehicle for Turner's media ambitions. ENIC owns 25 per cent of Glasgow Rangers, and has shares in Vicenza, Slavia Prague and AEK Athens.

PIERRE LESCURE: The chairman of Canal-Plus, the French television channel, is also a board member of Paris St Germain football team. The profitable pay-TV channel bought the club in 1991 - it owns 56 per cent of the its shares - and also owns the Swiss club Servette. Canal-Plus shares the rights to the French First Division and the European Championship with TF1; it co-owns the worldwide rights to Premiership games along with IMG. Closely connected to Mark McCormack (see below).

GIANNI AGNELLI: The Agnelli family, with an estimated wealth of around $1m, is headed by Gianni; it has a 31 per cent share ownership of Fiat, a company which in turn owns the Turin-based football club Juventus. The Agnellis also own two of Italy's most influential newspapers, La Stampa and Corriere della Sera.

MARK McCORMACK: The American owner and chairman of the International Management Group. The company was responsible for bailing out the Millennium Dome to the tune of pounds 50m, and it has 100 per cent ownership of Transworld, which produces TV programmes, and organised the Diana memorial concert. IMG also has an 87 per cent stake in Strasbourg football club, and has frequently been linked with share acquisitions of Chelsea Village, the development around Chelsea FC. IMG has the worldwide rights to the Premiership, a deal worth an estimated pounds 100m over three years. It is able to sell the games to 140 countries; IMG shares the privilege with France's Canal- Plus. (See Pierre Lescure, above).

MICHAEL GREEN: The man who bought Technicolor is now chairman of Carlton Television, which owns ITV's London franchise, and has minority holdings in Meridian, ITN and GMTV. It was rumoured last week to be preparing a bid for Arsenal FC, last season's Double winners, valuing it at pounds 275m (it is presently valued at only pounds 170m). As an obvious rival to BSkyB, Carlton and Green would love to have their own sporting portfolio.

YOSOJI KOBAYASHI: The former Japanese government minister is chairman of the highest-selling newspaper in the world, the Yomiuri. It shifts 15 million copies a day with its morning and evening editions. Given the interconnected world of Japanese companies, Kobayashi is also chairman of Nippon Television. The two companies own the Tokyo [more commonly called Yomiuri] Giants, one of the country's biggest baseball teams; indeed, the club's president is Tsuneo Watanabe, a former staff writer on the paper. The Yomiuri owns part of the J-League's Verdy Kawasaki football team and - it should be declared - carries an eight-page supplement of the Independent in its Sunday, English language, version. (See Hiroshiko Oshima, below.)

HIROSHIKO OSHIMA: Powerful president of the Chunichi Group, another media conglomerate which publishes five daily newspapers. Its aggregate daily circulation is over five million. Oshima, however, doubles up as the chairman of Nagoya's Chunichi Dragons, and the group also has "an interest" in Gary Lineker and Arsene Wenger's old club, Grampus 8.

KERRY PACKER: Far and away the wealthiest man in Australia, Packer's rivalry with former compatriot Rupert Murdoch is well known. In 1978 he revolutionised cricket, luring the best 65 players in the world into his unofficial competition, World Series Cricket. His sponsorship of Australian rugby league, which has recently been broadcast by his Channel Nine Network, makes him one of the most powerful figures in the sport. Company shareholdings include Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd, Australian cable TV network Optus Vision, and a 17 per cent stake in the Fairfax Newspaper group (owners of the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, and Australian Financial Review). He owns the Ellerston Polo Club, and is believed to have lavished pounds 50m on the sport.