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NBC AND USA HOPE FOR BIG NUMBERS FOR RYDER CUP COVERAGE
Published September 24, 1999
The 33rd Ryder Cup is underway in Brookline, MA and in Boston, George Kimball notes that TV "got what it wanted" with this morning's pairing of Tiger Woods/Tom Lehman against Jesper Parnevik/Sergio Garcia. The match has been shown live on USA Network since 7:30am ET (BOSTON HERALD, 9/24). NBC and USA Network will feature 27 hours of event coverage, as NBC alone will have a "record-breaking" 16 1/2 hours of combined coverage on Saturday and Sunday (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/24). NBC runs a quarter-page ad in USA TODAY promoting its Ryder Cup coverage under the header, "It's Time to Bring the Cup Back Home" (THE DAILY). After a 4.1 Nielsen rating for the last U.S.-based Ryder Cup in '95, NBC is "anticipating" 40 million viewers for the '99 event (BOSTON HERALD, 9/24). NBC Sports Exec Producer Tommy Roy, on the net's strategy for covering the event: "The way we typically show golf is to follow the leaders, but here we'll show the matches that are closest to ending or closest in competition. If Tiger is blowing out his opponent in a match, you won't see much of him" (HARTFORD COURANT, 9/24). The Golf Channel is also offering 21 hours of shows, updates and analysis from Brookline. The cable channel has 39 employees attending the event (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/24). RYDER CUP NOTES: In Boston, Syre & Stein estimate that 12,000-15,000 people "are walking through the" Ryder Cup Golf Shop daily. The "average" tab for a customer is "about" $130, which adds up to a daily gross of "about" $1.5M (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/24)....In Jacksonville, Garry Smits reports that when the players were introduced during yesterday's opening ceremonies, Sergio Garcia "easily got the loudest ovation of any player, American or European." More than 1,200 media credentials have been issued for the event (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/24)....FSN's Keith Olbermann noted the increased interest in the Ryder Cup: "In July 1997, half of sports fans asked would've believed you if you'd told them the Ryder Cup was a coffee-protective device from the truck rental industry" ("Primetime," 9/23).