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GAME SIX NETS RECORD RATING, HELPS NBC TO BEST-EVER AVERAGE
Published June 16, 1998
Sunday night's Bulls-Jazz Game Six earned a 22.3/38 final national rating, making it the highest rated NBA broadcast in history. The game was watched by an estimated 72 million viewers, which also establishes a new all-time record for an NBA telecast. In addition, Sunday's rating means the '98 Finals averaged an 18.7/33 rating, making it the highest rated Finals ever, 4% better than the previous high of 17.9/33 for the Bulls-Suns Final in '93. This year also saw an 11% jump from last year's 16.8/30 average (THE DAILY). Friday night's Game Five earned a 19.8/37 final rating for NBC. Its estimated audience of 60.9 million viewers makes it the third-most-viewed NBA telecast in history, behind Sunday night's game and last month's Pacers- Bulls Game Seven, which drew 61.4 million viewers (NBC). OTHER NUMBERS: In Chicago, Game Six earned a 52.1 rating on the local NBC affil, "making it the most watched event in Chicago for the year" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/16). CABLE READY: CNBC's "NBA Finals Post-Game Specials," which aired after each Finals game broadcast, averaged a 1.0 rating, a 30% increase from last year's .74 average (CNBC). GOOD MARKS FOR NBC: In Boston, Jim Baker called NBC's Game Six telecast "loaded," adding it "caught all the drama" of the game (BOSTON HERALD, 6/15). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes that NBC's broadcast team "must be complimented for -- especially down the stretch -- letting the game breathe. [Isiah] Thomas, [Bob] Costas, and Doug Collins correctly kept their calls to a minimum late in the fourth quarter, allowing viewers to feel the moment" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/16). Also in N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes that Hannah Storm's work during the Finals "made it clear that [she] is one of sports' best studio hosts" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16). ROBERTO PANNED: In Utah, Scott Pierce reviewed NBC's broadcast under the header, "NBC Ignored Its Own Observations, Analysis." Concerning two apparent miscues by the refs involving the shot clock, Pierce wrote, "At the very least, shouldn't the events in Sunday's game have elicited a discussion about ... some sort of official review of the videotape?" More Pierce: "Costas and the other members of the NBC broadcast team were left looking as if their special relationships with the Bulls and the NBA were more important to them than any sort of vague journalistic integrity they might have" (DESERET NEWS, 6/16). In Boston, Howard Manly: "It might just be time to bring Marv Albert back ... because his replacement, 'I, Bob Costas,' has taken the simple game of basketball and made it his own pulpit" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/16). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes that Costas "is not Albert. His voice doesn't match the rhythms of basketball as faithfully as Albert's did." While Costas is "prepared," and "rarely makes mistakes ... his style seems more suited to baseball" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16). THE UGLY: Jazz F Karl Malone "blasted" the Jazz radio announcers on team-owned KFAN-AM yesterday and "threatened to get them fired for criticizing him during the NBA Finals. Malone: "Either they shake that station up at KFAN with the two experts they got on that, or they've got to do something else with me. So it's me or them." The announcers, David Locke and former Jazz coach Tom Nissalke, declined comment (Michael Lewis, SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 6/16). SOMEBODY STOP HIM! TIME looks at John Tesh's "NBA on NBC" theme song. Tesh said that the melody, called "Roundball Rock," has the "same pace as a fast break -- 120 feet a minute." He added that he is "thinking of doing a rap version of the song next year" (TIME, 6/22 issue).