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Published May 23, 1995
With the Knicks, Bulls, Lakers and Suns out of the playoffs, John Helyar writes in the WALL STREET JOURNAL that the loss of the nation's top three media markets and another with a top star -- Charles Barkley -- "may augur poorly for continued playoff viewership." The NBA's Final Four, ranked by media market: Rockets (No. 11), Magic (No. 22), Pacers (No. 24), and Spurs (No. 39). While Jerry Dominus, Senior Partner at J. Walter Thompson USA, says those teams are "not exactly David Stern's dream team," NBC Sports spokesperson Ed Markey counters, "The idea that ratings are driven by the size of market is a fallacy. It's really storyline-driven, personality-driven, quality-of-play driven." Helyar notes that the NBA "faces stiffer competition from the NHL playoffs from here on out." Fox will run the Blackhawks-Canucks on Sunday, hoping to grab viewers from the No. 3 Chicago market (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/23). In New York, Steve Zipay writes that NBC is not worried. "The worst-case Finals would be Rockets-Pacers and 80 percent of the ads are already sold for next season" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 5/23). RATINGS CHECK: The Knicks-Pacers Game 7 earned an 11.4/28 in overnights, with a 17.2/37 in New York and a 31.6/58 in Indianapolis. The Rangers-Flyers managed a 4.4/10 in New York during the same period (N.Y. POST, 5/23). Nationally, the NHL got a 2.7 in overnights, up 17% from ABC's coverage last year (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 5/23). ANYTHING FOR FOX: The NHL's remaining Western Conference teams are "steaming over" the fact that they will have to play back-to-back games in each city this weekend, so that both games can be shown on Fox. In order to show Sunday's Blackhawks- Canucks game at 2pm CDT on Sunday, the teams have to fly out immediately after Saturday's game in Vancouver (Mike Beamish, VANCOUVER SUN, 5/23).