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EARLY OVERNIGHTS FOR "NBA ON NBC" HAS RATINGS DOWN 21%
Published May 10, 1999
For complete overnight ratings of the opening weekend of the NBA playoffs on NBC, see (#29). MEDIAWEEK's John Consoli reports that heading into the first round, NBC was about 85% sold out of its playoff ad inventory, which accounts for about 80% of the network's annual NBA ad revenue. Turner Sports has sold about 90% of its NBA post- season inventory. NBA is "slightly behind" last year's sales effort, while Turner is "at about the same level as last year." NBC's playoff inventory "is said to be generating" 10% increases over last year (MEDIAWEEK, 5/10). IS SMALL MARKET MATCHUP A NIGHTMARE? In N.Y., Mike Wise wrote that a Pacers-Jazz NBA Final would be "a prime-time nightmare" for NBC, as the two "small-market, veteran teams" would "seem to point to fewer viewers." However, NBC "contends that it is not playing favorites." NBC Sports Chair Dick Ebersol: "I'm a big believer that for the finals to work, you have to have stories. With Reggie Miller and Larry Bird, you have ready-made stars." NBC Sports VP/Information Ed Markey: "The two most important factors -- in order -- are story line and length of series. Market size is gravy" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9). In Atlanta, Prentis Rogers wrote that NBC and Turner "finally can loosen their ties" because, "despite the lockout, the shortened season" and the "underachieving" Lakers, the NBA's TV partners "have arrived at the postseason with their core viewership intact." But "both know the postseason is where success or failure ultimately will lie" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/8). GOING EASY ON THE HYPE, GIVING IT A REST: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes that NBC "deserves credit for avoiding too much hype" during its telecasts of this past weekend's first round NBA playoff games. Hiestand: "NBC could have gone overboard in frantically trying to hook viewers. Instead, it was credible" (USA TODAY, 5/10).