SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

NBA, NBC rock demographics

A dash of U2 and a splash of Sugar Ray. They're two ingredients in NBA Entertainment and NBC's recipe to try to grow the NBA's fan base.

During halftime of its broadcast Wednesday of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, NBC will provide live coverage of a U2 concert as the Irish rockers perform at the FleetCenter in Boston.

Then, if the best-of-seven Finals series reaches Game 5, NBC will televise a live halftime concert by Sugar Ray, who would perform at the arena of the Eastern Conference team competing in the finals. (At press time last week, the conference championship series, between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks, was still undecided.)

Also at press time last week, the NBA was considering other musical acts for halftime entertainment, including Destiny's Child.

"We may be able to get fringe fans more interested in the NBA through these halftime performances," said Gregg Winik, executive vice president and executive producer for NBA Entertainment. Indeed, the NBA Finals attracts a wider audience than just the hard-core NBA fans.

Winik said NBC also will air an NBA-themed version of the network's prime-time game show "The Weakest Link" during the halftimes of games 2 and 3. Competing on the show, which will be taped, are Baron Davis of the Charlotte Hornets, Lisa Leslie of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, NBC Sports' Bob Costas and NBC NBA analysts Bill Walton and Steve "Snapper" Jones.

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