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THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS CONTINUES TO BE TOP DRAW FOR NBC
Published June 2, 1998
NBC's coverage of the Bulls-Pacers Eastern Conference Finals Game Seven earned a final national rating of 19.1/33, making it the highest non-NBA Finals rated basketball broadcast ever, and the seventh-highest NBA game in history. NBC estimates that 61 million people saw all or part of the game, making it the most watched NBA game in history, topping the 60 million for last year's Game Five of the Bulls-Jazz Finals. Through 21 telecasts, NBC's NBA Playoffs average is 7.6/20, up 4% from last year's 7.3/19 (THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke reports that NBC, which took in $10M more in ad sales due to the seven-game series, will receive "more than" $20M per game for the Bulls-Jazz Finals (USA TODAY, 6/2). Sunday's game drew a 50.2/69 in Indianapolis and a 43.8/65 in Chicago. The game drew a 35.0/57 in Salt Lake City (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/2). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal writes that the final 15 minutes of the game was seen by 78% of Chicago households watching TV at the time (SUN-TIMES, 6/2). Only three NBA games have topped a 20.0 national final rating, and all were part of a Finals series: '88 Pistons-Lakers Game 7; '93 Bulls-Suns Game 6; and '97 Bulls-Suns Game 5 (AP/ESPN SportsZone, 6/2). FINALS NOTES: The United Center will provide live TV feeds for games played in Salt Lake. The events, called "Bulls Bashes," are open to the public and cost $10 (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/2)....CNBC will feature a 30 minute post-game wrap-up show of all Finals games starting tomorrow. Hannah Storm will anchor, with Ahmad Rashad and Jim Gray conducting interviews (NBC). In N.Y., Richard Huff reports that NBC affils "are okay" with the CNBC post-game show, as NBC will promote the affils' local news as well as the post-game in- game before signing off the air (DAILY NEWS, 6/2)....Also in N.Y., Richard Sandomir asks, "When will NBC realize that no matter how close [Ahmad] Rashad is to [Michael] Jordan, he is doing a disservice to viewers by not asking pertinent questions of Jordan (or anyone else) in the short time available in the post-game frenzy?" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/2). ...CBS's David Letterman: "Did you see Bob Costas on the game [Sunday night]? Let me ask you something in all seriousness. Is he getting shorter?" ("Late Show," 6/1).