SBD/8/Sports Media


          NBA COVERAGE/RATINGS: NBC's overnight ratings for Game
     Two of the NBA Finals was a 17.7, up 7% from last year.  In
     Chicago, Michael Hirsley writes that the national rating
     "should be the second-highest NBA Finals Game 2 rating, and
     could surpass the current highest, Bulls-Lakers Game 2 in
     1991" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/8)....In Salt Lake, John Youngren
     wrote that NBC's Isiah Thomas "all but disappeared during
     the crucial fourth quarter of Game 2 -- deferring to NBC
     colleague Doug Collins."  But "overall, NBC offered an
     objective and dramatic look at the Jazz and Bulls" for
     Friday's game (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 6/6)....NBC Sports
     President Dick Ebersol predicts that a Michael Jordan-less
     NBA on NBC would see little decline in its regular-season
     ratings "because it makes the regular season, in many ways,
     more competitive."  Ebersol: "The Finals, obviously, it will
     have an impact.  Michael, probably more than any athlete in
     any sport, is a draw for the casual fan" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES,
     6/8)....For more on select weekend ratings, see (#27).
          BELMONT REVIEWS: ABC's Belmont telecast earned a 6.5/17
     rating, up 5% from last year's 6.2/16 (THE DAILY). USA
     TODAY's Rudy Martzke gives ABC's Belmont Stakes coverage an
     "A-" (USA TODAY, 6/8)....On Long Island, Steve Zipay writes
     that ABC "handled the wild finish and post-race questions
     with aplomb" (NEWSDAY, 6/7)....But in Houston, David Barron
     writes, "ABC, to be kind, struggled Saturday" and noted
     Lesley Visser's microphone going out in a post-race
     interview with trainer Bob Baffert (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/8). 
     For more on the Belmont Stakes, see (#21).  
          NOTES: USA TODAY's Lieberman & Wells report that WB and
     Fox "appear to be the big winners as the advertising sales
     rush for television's upcoming prime-time season wraps up." 
     Ad rates are up "at least" 12% at the WB and about 8% at
     Fox.  Meanwhile, Grey Advertising's Jon Mandel said, "The
     whole sports market is squishy right now" (USA TODAY, 6/8).
     ...In Miami, Barry Diller's WAMI-TV, which will broadcast 40
     Heat games next season, switches formats today, from Home
     Shopping Network to news, talk and entertainment. WAMI will
     air a live, 30-minute weeknight sports show called
     "Sportstown" at 10:00pm and plans other sports programming
     as well (MIAMI HERALD, 6/7).  BUSINESS WEEK notes the re-
     launch of Diller's WAMI and notes that when viewers watch
     Heat games Diller also "intends to pitch them team
     merchandise."  Other possible deals for Diller "could
     include one" with the NBA to run its new league store in New
     York City, which "could lead" to NBA product sales over his
     shopping channels, as well (BUSINESS WEEK, 6/15 issue).  

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