SBD/16/Sports Media

NBC GOES FROM NBA FINALS BONANZA TO NATIONAL GOLF SPOTLIGHT

     The NBA Finals on NBC earned a 13.9 national rating and a 25
share, making it the 8th highest rated Finals in NBA history,
according to NBC Sports.  The 13.9 rating represents a 12%
increase over the '94 Finals.  Overall, the 24 playoff telecasts
on NBC yielded a 8.1 national rating, 13% higher than '94 (NBC
Sports).  NBC Sports VP of Communications Ed Markey:  "If this
had gone to seven games, who knows what the numbers would have
been?"  The Michael Jackson interview on ABC on Wednesday hurt
the NBA's numbers.  Michael and Lisa Marie got a 25.9 (WALL
STREET JOURNAL, 6/16).  "ET" noted that the Jackson interview
garnered twice the ratings of the NBA Finals ("ET," 6/15).
     ON TO GOLF:  NBC's coverage of the U.S. Open has received
much attention, mainly because it is the first time the network
has carried the tournament since '65.  In the last ten years,
U.S. Open ratings have ranged between 4.3 and 6.5 (Prentis
Rogers, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/16).  From NBC lead analyst
Johnny Miller, "a promise that he will not be a loose-lipped as
usual" (Doug Carlson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/16).  Miller, 48, has a
decision to make this fall about returning to NBC with the Senior
Tour looming.  Miller:  "It's the hardest decision I'll ever have
to make.  One part of me doesn't want to announce and one part of
me says, 'If you don't do it, who will?'  But the Senior Tour
needs all the big names it can get."  NBC Sports President Dick
Ebersol:  "Even if Johnny plays the Senior Tour, he'll still have
a significant involvement with us" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES,
6/16).  On the 7th and 11th holes, NBC will employ video game-
like 3D animation to provide viewers with a sense of the contours
of the greens.  NBC Sports Exec Producer Tommy Roy:  "It'll look
almost like a real green" (Rob Longley, TORONTO SUN, 6/16).
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