SBD/10/Sports Media

NBC TO END ITS COLLEGE HOOPS COVERAGE AFTER THIS SEASON

          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).

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