GAME SIX NETS RECORD RATING, HELPS NBC TO BEST-EVER AVERAGE
Sunday night's Bulls-Jazz Game Six earned a 22.3/38
final national rating, making it the highest rated NBA
broadcast in history. The game was watched by an estimated
72 million viewers, which also establishes a new all-time
record for an NBA telecast. In addition, Sunday's rating
means the '98 Finals averaged an 18.7/33 rating, making it
the highest rated Finals ever, 4% better than the previous
high of 17.9/33 for the Bulls-Suns Final in '93. This year
also saw an 11% jump from last year's 16.8/30 average (THE
DAILY). Friday night's Game Five earned a 19.8/37 final
rating for NBC. Its estimated audience of 60.9 million
viewers makes it the third-most-viewed NBA telecast in
history, behind Sunday night's game and last month's Pacers-
Bulls Game Seven, which drew 61.4 million viewers (NBC).
OTHER NUMBERS: In Chicago, Game Six earned a 52.1
rating on the local NBC affil, "making it the most watched
event in Chicago for the year" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/16).
CABLE READY: CNBC's "NBA Finals Post-Game Specials,"
which aired after each Finals game broadcast, averaged a 1.0
rating, a 30% increase from last year's .74 average (CNBC).
GOOD MARKS FOR NBC: In Boston, Jim Baker called NBC's
Game Six telecast "loaded," adding it "caught all the drama"
of the game (BOSTON HERALD, 6/15). In N.Y., Bob Raissman
writes that NBC's broadcast team "must be complimented for
-- especially down the stretch -- letting the game breathe.
[Isiah] Thomas, [Bob] Costas, and Doug Collins correctly
kept their calls to a minimum late in the fourth quarter,
allowing viewers to feel the moment" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
6/16). Also in N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes that Hannah
Storm's work during the Finals "made it clear that [she] is
one of sports' best studio hosts" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16).
ROBERTO PANNED: In Utah, Scott Pierce reviewed NBC's
broadcast under the header, "NBC Ignored Its Own
Observations, Analysis." Concerning two apparent miscues by
the refs involving the shot clock, Pierce wrote, "At the
very least, shouldn't the events in Sunday's game have
elicited a discussion about ... some sort of official review
of the videotape?" More Pierce: "Costas and the other
members of the NBC broadcast team were left looking as if
their special relationships with the Bulls and the NBA were
more important to them than any sort of vague journalistic
integrity they might have" (DESERET NEWS, 6/16). In Boston,
Howard Manly: "It might just be time to bring Marv Albert
back ... because his replacement, 'I, Bob Costas,' has taken
the simple game of basketball and made it his own pulpit"
(BOSTON GLOBE, 6/16). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes that
Costas "is not Albert. His voice doesn't match the rhythms
of basketball as faithfully as Albert's did." While Costas
is "prepared," and "rarely makes mistakes ... his style
seems more suited to baseball" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16).
THE UGLY: Jazz F Karl Malone "blasted" the Jazz radio
announcers on team-owned KFAN-AM yesterday and "threatened
to get them fired for criticizing him during the NBA Finals.
Malone: "Either they shake that station up at KFAN with the
two experts they got on that, or they've got to do something
else with me. So it's me or them." The announcers, David
Locke and former Jazz coach Tom Nissalke, declined comment
(Michael Lewis, SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 6/16).
SOMEBODY STOP HIM! TIME looks at John Tesh's "NBA on
NBC" theme song. Tesh said that the melody, called
"Roundball Rock," has the "same pace as a fast break -- 120
feet a minute." He added that he is "thinking of doing a
rap version of the song next year" (TIME, 6/22 issue).