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WOMENS HOOPS TAKES A SPIN IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Published April 4, 1995
RATINGS FOR FINAL TOP NHL: Ratings for CBS' telecast of the UConn-Tennessee Women's Final on Sunday were up 93% with a 5.6, according to preliminary Nielsen overnights. The game more than doubled Fox's NHL coverage, which generated a national rating of 2.1 (N.Y. TIMES, 4/4)....More ratings: the women's semifinals were up 13% to 3.6. The mens' Oklahoma St.-UCLA matchup generated an 11.1 rating and UNC-Arkansas a 12.2. Combined, the mens ratings were down 3%, with the late UNC-Arkansas game off 6% from last year's Duke-Florida matchup. CBS' Billy Packer: "You're telling me that twice as many people watched the women's title game than watched (men's) Kentucky-Arkansas in the regular season? ... And more people watched the women's game than Bob Hope's golf tournament? No way. Then, I can't see anyone paying any attention to any of the ratings. ... The TV ratings are parallel to the SAT scores. They are both used by lazy people who don't have the time to talk about reality" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 4/4). CORPORATIONS TAKE NOTICE: BUSINESS WEEK profiled the growing interest of corporate America in women's basketball. Joan Hamilton reports, "Corporate America is waking up to the same things fans are: These women can play." Hamilton points out that advertisers had bought up CBS' 40 spots for the Final Four by January and that the game is attracting "well-educated, family-oriented fans and, not surprisingly, more women (read: the people who make household buying decisions)." Wells Fargo Brand Manager Andy Anderson said their ads for women's sports and cable-TV broadcasts "get the same exposure for a fourth of the cost of working with men's programs." Exposure will only improve as 20 more women's telecasts will be on TV due to the NCAA's new seven-year contract with ESPN (BUSINESS WEEK, 4/10 issue). NEXT YEAR: ESPN, which bought the rights to the women's Final Four for next season, is changing the format. In '96, the semifinals will be moved from Saturday to Friday, giving the teams a day off. Also, the regionals will be moved from a Thursday-Saturday format to Saturday-Monday to avoid conflicts with the men's regionals. ESPN and ESPN2 will televise 23 '96 tournament games (ESPN). TO THE HOOP: USA Basketball has hired NBA Properties to market the women's team. The deal is worth $3M (USA TODAY, 4/4).... Player of the Year Rebecca Lobo will appear on "Letterman" tonight (Mult, 4/4). Lobo says she will play in Europe next season, but is likely to be asked to tryout for the U.S. team next month in Colorado Springs. The team will be put together a year ahead of the Olympics and players will be paid around $50,000 each (AP/WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/4)....Organizers of the National Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Jackson, TN, are looking for ways to make up a $5M construction shortfall (USA TODAY, 4/4).