SBD/30/Sports Media

PEACOCK PERCHED ATOP '96 SPORTS RATINGS; ESPN CLOSES IN

     An analysis done by BJK&E Media Group, New York, for
ADVERTISING AGE finds NBC holding a "whopping" 23% share of
projected households viewing national TV sports programming in
'96.  The projection, using gross ratings as the criterion, looks
at '96 as the first year in a new multiyear rights cycle.  The
survey also finds ESPN overtaking ABC as the No. 2 sports network
by a "wide margin," with 22.5% of the household rating points.
ESPN may even rank ahead of NBC, considering NBC's "unprecedented
array of one-time only premium sports properties" in '96.  AD
AGE's Joe Mandese writes ESPN is already the No. 1 outlet in '96
in rating points among adult men -- "probably a more relevant
measure" as that group is the "primary target for advertisers
buying TV sports."  ABC is 3rd, but Fox, ranked at No. 4,
"outdelivers ABC in adult male viewers."  Fox has a "decisive 4.6
share point advantage over the once powerful CBS Sports brand,
which barely outmaneuvers Turner Broadcasting System's channels
as the fifth-place sports outlet."  While Fox Sports fares well,
it doesn't seem to being helping the network's other shows, as
Fox's prime-time ratings are down 5% (AD AGE, 11/27 issue).
     MORE RANKINGS:  The latest issue of VARIETY reports that
"major sports score well for broadcasters."  Demographic trends
for the '94-95 season show that pro hockey and basketball
attracted the youngest male audiences, with more than half were
under 35.  Bowling, golf and horse racing had the oldest
audience, with half of male viewers at age 50 or over (Gary
Levin, VARIETY, 11/29 issue).
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