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WAVE THAT FLAG, WAVE IT HIGH AND WIDE: RYDER CUP EARNS $$
Published September 28, 1999
The Ryder Cup "will exceed" the $58-65M in revenues "that were predicted to flow directly from the competition," according to information provided by officials who worked "closely" with the PGA of America and cited by Gregg Krupa of the BOSTON GLOBE. Paid attendance exceeded the expected 30,000 for each of the six days, as it neared 35,000, with some estimating that 40,000 attended the Saturday and Sunday sessions. Sales of PGA-licensed merchandise -- anticipated before the event to be about $8M -- averaged $2M each of the six days. Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau President Patrick Moscaritolo said that he was still waiting on financial figures from the PGA. Meanwhile, Krupa notes NBC's record ratings for the event and writes that the decision by Mass Mutual Life and Fidelity Investments "to buy heavily into commercial time on NBC ... paid handsome dividends." Mass Mutual Senior VP Eustis Walcott: "It ... certainly exceeded our expectations" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/28). HAPPY FACES AT 30 ROCK: NBC Sports estimates that 55 million viewers ages 2-plus watched all or part of the event, a 31% increase from the previous all-time high of 42 million viewers in '97. NBC's Saturday and Sunday two-day Nielsen overnight average was a 5.4/14, up 32% from the previous high of 4.1/12 in '97. West Palm Beach, FL, posted the highest overnight rating with an 11.8/26 (NBC). In Boston, Howard Manly writes that the ratings "proved that golf -- yes, golf -- can capture a television audience as well as those other sports do." WHDH-Boston's rating peaked with a 19.3/42 at 4:30pm ET on Sunday, which "compares, if ever so briefly," with the 19.9/29 the Giants-Patriots game earned on WCVB-ABC that evening. Manly writes that "time has proven that NBC Sports chairmen Dick Ebersol was absolutely right to secure the network rights to the Ryder Cup in 1991, even though few in America had ever heard of it at the time." Meanwhile, USA Network "set its own Ryder Cup record," with a 1.8 rating Friday, translating into about 1.4 million households (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/28). BACKING JOHNNY MILLER: In Dallas, Barry Horn writes that NBC Sports golf analyst Johnny Miller was "only doing his job" in offering frank criticism of U.S. team members at the Ryder Cup. Horn states that Miller "is as honest as they come in the 18th tower, as willing to criticize as he is to praise" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/28)