SBD/24/Sports Media

CBS EARNS HIGHEST MEN'S TOURNAMENT RATINGS IN FOUR YEARS

          An NCAA men's basketball tournament of "buzzer-beaters,
     upsets and feel-good stories" has helped CBS to its highest
     ratings for the event in four years, according to the
     HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  Through Sunday's regional finals, CBS's
     NCAA men's coverage averaged a 6.2/13, 1% higher than last
     year's 6.1/14 and the "best since" '94's 6.6/15.  Three of
     last weekend's games "posted gains" from the previous year. 
     Saturday's UConn-UNC game earned an 8.2, up 9% from '97,
     while Sunday's Stanford-URI received a 6.4, up 5%, and Duke-
     Kentucky recorded a 9.9, up 11%.  The Duke-Kentucky game was
     the "highest rated regional final since" Michigan-Arkansas
     got a 10.1 in '94 (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 3/24).  In Dallas,
     Richard Alm notes that, due to the viewer demos for the
     tournament, CBS "isn't complaining about the" $213M rights
     fee it is paying for '98.  The average tourney watchers have
     incomes 30% higher than the national average, and 70% own
     their own homes.  Also, 40% of the audience are women, "high
     for sports events."  CBS Sports VP/Programming Mike Aresco:
     "Young, college-educated men are a very hard to reach
     demographic segment.  And this, by far, is the best vehicle
     to reach them" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/24).
          CBS NOTES: In N.Y., Bob Raissman calls CBS's production
     on Duke-KY "first-rate," and adds "so was the call of Jim
     Nantz and Billy Packer" (N.Y DAILY NEWS, 3/24).  Also in
     N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes on Packer:  "If the full
     measure of an analyst is whether a viewer learns something
     ... Packer gets high marks" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/24).  But in
     Boston, Howard Manly writes that the presence of ex-coaches
     Al McGuire and Dean Smith in the net's lineup "may be good
     for name recognition but lousy for insightful analysis. 
     Neither criticizes his coaching brethren" (BOSTON GLOBE,
     3/24).  Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley will join CBS on
     this weekend's coverage of the men's Final Four (CBS). 

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