SBD/28/Sports Media

BREAKFAST AT SAWGRASS: NBC GOES ALL OUT WITH TPC COVERAGE

          USA TODAY's Harry Blauvelt reports that during NBC's
     early morning coverage of yesterday's completion of the
     final round of The Players Championship (TPC), a "computer
     foul-up" at 10:00am ET resulted in "a half dozen stations"
     being "automatically switched" to a tape of the broadcast's
     opening moments.  Blauvelt: "When the error was discovered
     after eight minutes, NBC switched back to the live feed"
     (USA TODAY, 3/28).  MEDIAWEEK reports that NBC "spared no
     cost" in airing the TPC, as the network used 28 cameras, 19
     miles of cable and 90 technicians on the event.  Also, for
     the "first time," NBC "used global positioning satellites"
     during its TPC coverage "to provide viewers with precise
     statistical information on four key holes.  Viewers learned
     the club used by each golfer on those holes and the exact
     distance of each putt, down to the inch" (MEDIAWEEK, 3/27).
          WHAT ARE THESE NUMBERS TELLING US? In Dallas, Barry
     Horn notes that NBC's TPC coverage on Sunday, fueled by
     Tiger Woods in contention, pulled a 5.6/12 overnight rating,
     compared to NBC's lead-in NBA regional coverage which earned
     a 3.6/10 overnight.  Horn: "That's more than two million
     fewer homes for Allen Iverson and Reggie Miller et al. ...
     Forget about Vince Carter.  The NBA needs to think of a way
     to get Tiger Woods in a basketball uniform."  NBC Sports VP/
     Communications Kevin Sullivan told Horn that NBC "would have
     come back" with final-round coverage of the TPC on Monday
     even "if Woods was no factor and [Hal] Sutton was trying to
     hold off, say, Scott Hoch" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/28).  USA
     TODAY's Rudy Martzke notes that TPC impacted Sunday's NCAA
     men's basketball tournament coverage on CBS, as overnights
     were down "a combined 21% from last year."  CBS' four
     regional finals averaged a 6.5 overnight rating, down 17%
     from last year's 7.8 (USA TODAY, 3/28).  DAILY VARIETY's
     Rick Kissel notes that CBS is averaging a 6.0/12 for the
     men's tourney, even with '99, but "off by about 10% from the
     net's mid-to-late '90s results" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/28).
          TRAFFIC UPDATE: Live@17, the joint Webcast venture of
     the PGA Tour, USA Network and Microcast which provided live
     Web coverage of the 17th hole at the TPC, attracted more
     than five million hits Thursday-Sunday.  Simultaneous
     viewership peaked at noon on Friday at 155,000, while the
     average viewing session that day exceeded three hours.  Data
     had 60% of the users on a broadband connection (Microcast).

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