SBD/28/Events Attractions

WAVE THAT FLAG, WAVE IT HIGH AND WIDE: RYDER CUP EARNS $$

          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)

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