SBD/10/Sports Media

NBC STEPS UP TO ITS FIRST MAJOR WITH THE U.S. OPEN

     NBC faces a "major challenge" as it assumes coverage of the
U.S. Open after a 29-year reign on ABC, according to a preview of
the tournament in the June issue of GOLF DIGEST. Peter McCleery
writes that pictures and words of NBC's  telecast "will be
palpably different."  NBC won the rights to the Open this year by
outbidding ABC with a $40M guaranteed deal over the first three
years of the contract.  NBC Exec Producer Tom Roy: "I think we'll
take it to new heights."  McCleery credits Roy's takeover as
NBC's primary golf producer in '92 for improved quality in golf
coverage, and writes that this year's open "will be its
culmination."  McCleery: "It's a chance to prove that NBC can do
golf, at a huge occasion, on a level with CBS and ABC."  As for
the coverage, McCleery notes that the USGA, unlike the Masters,
"is much more subtle" in imposing restrictions on broadcasts, so
the network will have more control.  NBC, unlike ABC, uses fewer
stationary cameras in its coverage, replacing them with movable
cameras mounted on the backs of utility vehicles called "rat
packs."  The network says these allow for more flexibility.
Finally, McCleery notes that NBC's addition of early afternoon
coverage will "probably" bring down total ratings numbers because
"the longer the telecast, the lower the rating" (GOLF DIGEST,
6/95 issue).
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