SBD/24/Sports Media

MAGIC AND SUNS HEAT UP NBA RATINGS

     Sunday's Magic/Suns match up attracted the "largest regular
season audience ever" for a daytime NBA game, according to
Nielsen ratings in the United States' 32 largest cities.  In
today's BOSTON GLOBE, Jack Craig notes while some "picture the
NHL gaining on the NBA as America's winter sport" the
"blockbuster NBA doubleheader on NBC Sunday was reality."  Craig
writes that hockey is at a disadvantage on TV:  "Even Fox
Network, whose approach to sports is fresh, would not think of
launching its new contract with the NHL until the tail end of the
regular season in April."  The NHL did beat the NBA in Boston,
where Sunday's Flyers-Bruins game on WSBK more than doubled the
Magic-Suns.  But, as Craig notes: "Boston is not America" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 1/24).  Overall, the Magic-Suns rated 8.8  (Richard
Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 1/24).
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