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The Dodgers-Giants game on Wednesday gave SportsChannel Pacific (SCP) its "highest rating in the Bay Area," according to Scott Hettrick of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Then, the extra-inning game yesterday "drew near-record numbers of online chat room participants" to KTLA-TV's Web site. KTLA broadcast its first live online broadcast of the game through a chat room, feeding play-by-play notes to users. Online producer Eric Lipton said that "as many as 300 people were using the chat room at any one time, with an estimated 1,200 or more different users per hour." On Wednesday, the 316,000 households that watched the game on SCP were "more than were watching any other broadcast or cable network in that market." SCP's 11.5 Wednesday rating, with a peak of 13.9, broke the "previous ratings record" of 5.5, with a peak of 6.9, during a July 6 Giants-Rockies game (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/19).
MLB and ESPN Radio reached a five-year agreement giving ESPN Radio exclusive domestic regular- and post-season broadcast rights. ESPN Radio is broadcast across the U.S. by ABC Radio Networks. The deal includes coverage of all post-season games; the World Series; the All-Star Game and All-Star events; a full schedule of regular-season games each year; Sunday Night MLB game of the week; one game every Saturday in September; at least two games every holiday and Opening Day; two additional "Pennant Race" games each week in September; as well as major award announcements and the Winter Meetings (ESPN). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir puts the five-year deal at $40M (N.Y. TIMES, 9/19). OFF CBS: The deal ends MLB's 21-year relationship with CBS Radio, and the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER'S Stephen Battaglio reports that CBS did not want to renew its MLB package, "which had been unprofitable in recent years." MLB's radio network broadcasts "lost several major sponsors after the players' strike" and "made others skittish about signing on." Battaglio adds while CBS affils "liked having the crown jewel events ... [they] griped about having to carry so many regular-season games." ESPN will develop a radio version of "Baseball Tonight" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/19).
TV NETWORK NEWS: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick, on NBC's coverage of the Ryder Cup. Mushnick: "Already, NBC has assumed its low-brow Olympic posture in banging the drums for its Ryder Cup coverage. Promos literally have included shouts of 'USA, USA!' and Tiger Woods has been pre-emptively cast in the role of Kerri Strug" (N.Y. POST, 9/19)....In St. Pete, Phil Gulick wrote that CBS Sports President Sean McManus "revealed the possibility of more bowling coverage" on CBS. McManus: "If we can't break even on boxing, or make a small profit, we'll probably replace it next year (1999) with a lot of bowling hours" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/18). RSN NEWS: Dei Lynam has signed on as a reporter/anchor for Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia which debuts October 1 (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 9/19). Comcast Sports Net also signed a one-year deal with the Eagles for programming on Sundays and Mondays. Comcast will air 3 1/2 hours of Eagles programming each week (PHILA. INQUIRER, 9/19)....Fox Sports News named Van Earl Wright to its prime-time anchor team. Wright will begin at Fox next week (Fox Sports Net)....In N.Y., Richard Sandomir: "Between 110 and 120 layoffs have occurred at Rainbow Sports because of the merger of SportsChannel and MSG Network, the shutdown of NewSport, the delayed start of American Sports Classics and cuts in sports advertising sales. About 25 percent have landed jobs at Rainbow's nonsports networks and at Cablevision" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/19). GENERAL: Last Saturday's Oscar De La Hoya-Hector Camacho PPV fight was bought in 650,000 TV households, making it the third best non-heavyweight fight ever. It will be replayed tonight on HBO (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/19). ...Matt Guokas will be an analyst for SportsChannel Ohio's 42 Cavs games this season (SportsChannel).
The following lists ratings from last weekend's network sporting events. All times are EDT. "MLB on Fox" games were SF-FL; CIN-PHI; NYY-BAL; KC-ANA. ABC's NCAA Football was ND-PUR; UCLA-TEX; and MD-FSU. CBS' NCAA Football was ASU-MIA; SC-GA; and IL-LOU. NBC "Sports World" was the '97 Beach Volleyball World Championships. The numbers were gathered from the networks (THE DAILY).EVENTDATENETTIMERAT/SHR
NCAA Football: Colorado-Michigan9/13ABC12:00-3:30pm3.8/13 NCAA Football (regional)9/13ABC3:30-7:00pm4.5/13 NCAA Football (regional)9/13CBS3:30-7:00pm2.9/8 "MLB On Fox" (regional)9/13FOX1:00-4:00pm2.1/6 "NFL On Fox" (regional)9/14FOX1:00-4:00pm4.4/11 "NFL On Fox" (regional)9/14FOX4:00-7:00pm11.1/25 "NFL On NBC" (regional)9/14NBC1:00-4:00pm11.5/29 NBC "Sports World"9/14NBC4:00-6:00pm1.9/5