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FOX AFFILIATES CONCERNED OVER LOW NHL RATINGS
Published June 21, 1995
Fox comes into its affiliate meeting this week "on somewhat of a high," according to Joe Flint in VARIETY. The network had its strongest upfront sales ever, selling more than $1B of primetime ad inventory for this fall. But Fox's low ratings for the NHL have affiliates "worried." While most affiliates (particularly those owned by Fox or New World) embrace the idea of more sports, others question Fox's decision to buy rights to the NHL. One affiliate exec: "I took movies off that got a 25 share for hockey which gets a 2 share and I have less ad time to sell." Some, however, said coverage went up against "basketball and the return of Michael Jordan." Fox Network Distribution President Ken Solomon says the NHL needs to grow, adding that basketball was "once a failure" and it took TV and the NBA to build up the sport (VARIETY, 6/19-25 issue). NOT ALL BAD: Fox Sports notes that its Stanley Cup coverage on Saturday, which got a 3.2 national rating, was the highest network hockey rating since the '90 NHL All-Star Game on NBC. While reruns of "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman" and "Madman of the People" got overall better ratings than the NHL, Fox's coverage was the top-rated program for males younger than 55 (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 6/21).