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ESPN's "Up Close" with O.J. Simpson on January 15 drew a 2.1 rating and was seen by 1.5 million households, a "record audience" for the program (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/23). ...The '98 PBA Tour will debut on ESPN with the Brentwood Classic this Sunday from 1:30-3:00pm EST. Among the new additions on ESPN telecasts of the six-event Tour are a new broadcast team of Mike Bush and Marshall Holman; a "mini- arena" set up for telecasts; and microphones on the players and coaches. Bleachers will also be placed down-lane on both sides of the bowlers and closer to the bowlers (The Marquee Group)....The ATP Tour announced that Hamburg-based Kabel New Media will re-develop and market the Tour's Web site, www.atptour.com., set to relaunch on March 1 (ATP).
The Phillies restructured their broadcasting package, reducing its TV carriers from three to two, and adding a pre- and post-game show to its radio network. WPHL-TV, a WB affil, retains its Phillies rights, signing a one-year deal to broadcast 70 games. Comcast SportsNet is the new cable carrier for the team, and will carry 77 games. WPHT-AM, the flagship for the 18 Phillies Radio Network affils, will broadcast all 162 regular-season games, adding a 30-minute pre-game show. All regular-season games will also be broadcast at www.phillies.com (Phillies). COVERAGE: In Philadelphia, Jim Salisbury writes that 15 Phillies games will not be televised and of those 15, three will be on Fox and two will be on TBS, leaving 10 games unavailable to local fans, unless ESPN decides to take any. Phillies VP/Marketing Dennis Mannion said that conflicts with the Flyers and 76ers, and contractual stipulations, "made it impossible to televise every game." Salisbury adds that in the new deals, the Phillies "have spurned traditional rights fees in exchange for the right to control all advertising," which is a "more risky proposition," but "keeps the door open for a bigger pot of gold if the Phils suddenly become a hot commodity." Team President David Montgomery: "We can control our own destiny. But it puts the pressure on us to have a good sales year." The Phillies will get "approximately" $7-8M from Comcast, but "insiders" say that it is "not a rights fee, per se, and it doesn't affect the control of advertising" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 1/23).
The following lists ratings from last weekend's network events. Regional NCAA basketball was as follows: No. 1 = CLEM-DUKE; TX TECH-TX; and USC-CAL. No. 2 = G'TOWN-UCONN or KSU-KU. No. 3 = ARK-KY or UCLA-STAN. No. 4 = WVU-NOVA or CIN-L'VILLE. No. 5 = SC-GA; IA-MN; and NM-AZ. All times are EST. Numbers are from the networks (THE DAILY).
EVENT DATE NET TIME RAT/SHR NCAA Basketball: regional No. 11/17ABC1:00-3:30pm1.7/5 Winter X Games1/17ABC3:30-4:30pm1.7/5 European Figure Skating Champ.1/17ABC4:30-6:00pm3.6/9 NCAA Basketball: regional No. 21/17CBS2:00-4:00pm1.9/6 NCAA Basketball: regional No. 31/17CBS4:00-6:00pm3.0/8 Sprint World Ski Challenge1/17NBC2:30-3:00pm1.6/5 PGA Tour: Bob Hope Classic 4th Rd1/17NBC3:00-6:00pm2.8/8 NCAA Basketball: Purdue-Indiana1/18CBSnoon-2:00pm1.9/5 NCAA Basketball: regional No. 41/18CBS2:00-4:00pm1.5/4 NCAA Basketball: regional No. 51/18CBS4:00-6:00pm2.3/5 NHL All-Star Game1/18FOX4:00-7:00pm3.0/7 NBA on NBC: Pacers-Celtics1/18NBCnoon-2:30pm4.4/12 NBA on NBC: Rockets-Bulls1/18NBC2:30-5:00pm6.5/16 PGA Tour: Bob Hope Classic Final1/18NBC5:00-7:00pm5.5/11
The following lists a Super Bowl ratings trend for the previous 31 games (Nielsen Sports Marketing):
SB YR NET TEAMS RAT/SHRSB YR NET TEAMS RAT/SHR I:'67 CBS GB/KC22.6/43 XVI:'82 CBS SF/CIN49.1/73 NBC18.5/36 XVII:'83 NBC WAS/MIA48.6/69 II:'68 CBS GB/OAK36.8/68 XVIII:'84 CBS LA/WAS46.4/71 III:'69 NBC NYJ/BAL36.0/70 XIX:'85 ABC SF/MIA46.4/63 IV:'70 CBS KC/MIN39.4/69 XX:'86 NBC CHI/NE48.3/70 V:'71 NBC BAL/DAL39.9/75 XXI:'87 CBS NYG/DEN45.8/66 VI:'72 CBS DAL/MIA44.2/74 XXII:'88 ABC WAS/DEN41.9/62 VII:'73 NBC MIA/WAS42.7/72 XXIII:'89 NBC SF/CIN43.5/68 VIII:'74 CBS MIA/MIN41.6/73 XXIV:'90 CBS SF/DEN39.0/63 IX:'75 NBC PIT/MIN42.4/72 XXV:'91 ABC NYG/BUF41.9/63 X:'76 CBS PIT/DAL42.3/78 XXVI:'92 CBS WAS/BUF40.3/61 XI:'77 NBC OAK/MIN44.4/73 XXVII:'93 NBC DAL/BUF45.1/66 XII:'78 CBS DAL/DEN47.2/67 XXVIII:'94 NBC DAL/BUF45.5/66 XIII:'79 NBC PIT/DAL47.1/74 XXIX:'95 ABC SF/SD41.3/62 XIV:'80 CBS PIT/LA46.3/67 XXX:'96 NBC DAL/PIT46.0/68 XV:'81 NBC OAK/PHI44.4/63 XXXI:'97 Fox GB/NE43.3/65
SUPER BOWL NOTES: NBC research estimates that "more than" 130 million will watch all or part of the game -- "slightly higher" than the U.S. audience of 129 million that watched last year's game on Fox (Steve Zipay, NEWSDAY, 1/23) ....NBC said covering John Elway "is a big part" of its game plan. NBC Exec Producer Tom Roy: "We'll have cameras on him every single play whether it's on the field or on the sidelines. We think his emotions will be running high, even when the defense is out there. We'll be watching him very closely" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/23)....Play-by-play man Dick Enberg "does not plan any long goodbyes" for NBC's final NFL game. Enberg: "It's self-indulgent. The end should be: 'Thank you for watching, the final score is ... goodbye.'" NBC's Roy: "I don't think anybody cares. So the goodbyes are mainly for us. Our job is to deliver an audience to 'Third Rock From The Sun'" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/23).
TNT "will seek to maintain its cable-operator carriage fees that include a surcharge for NFL games and will not reduce the planned percentage increase in fees during its contract-renewal negotiations at year's end despite the recent loss of its NFL package," according to Scott Hettrick of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Industry observers "believe TNT will have a hard time extracting a significant increase in carriage fees from cable operators when most affiliation agreements expire at the end of the year." Hettrick writes that TNT "built what some sources say was a 12-cent surcharge into its current per-subscriber fee of 54 cents to compensate for eight games of the NFL." TNT spokesperson Jim Weiss said that it "has no plans to offer operators a kickback on the surcharge," and that TNT "still has additional programming costs to offset," including renewal of its NBA deal (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 1/23).