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NBC TO END ITS COLLEGE HOOPS COVERAGE AFTER THIS SEASON
Published March 10, 1998
NBC "has decided to drop out of college basketball altogether" after this season to focus on the NBA, according to Langdon Brockinton of MEDIAWEEK. An NBC Sports spokesperson: "Our commitments are concentrated on the NBA." NBC has had a "limited" college basketball schedule since it acquired the rights to the NBA in '90, "primarily" involving Notre Dame games the past few years, and with the "glut" of college basketball games on the airwaves these days, its exit "should have negligible impact." However, Brockinton writes that "the overabundance of telecasts is a primary reason for college b-ball's ratings lethargy on the broadcast networks." NBC's four broadcasts this season, for example, averaged a 1.1 rating -- down 35% from a 1.7 for six broadcasts last season (MEDIAWEEK, 3/9 issue). NCAA TOURNAMENT: Brockinton also reports that CBS has sold "about" 95% of its commercial time for the NCAA Tournament. Newcomers "said to be among" CBS's roster include IBM, Volvo, Taco Bell, MGM, NEC, Nextel, Walker Mufflers, BMW, Isuzu, Conseco and Uniden. Another newcomer, Microsoft, will sponsor a new on-air enhancement called Data Bank, featuring stats and other game info. Brockinton adds that "word is" the sold NCAA inventory "does not include any Olympics makegood spots resulting from CBS' Winter Games ratings underdelivery." Media buyers said that "it remains to be seen" whether some of the remaining 5% of the inventory may be used for makegoods (MEDIAWEEK, 3/9).