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Volume 24 No. 156
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          Advertising around the NCAA men's basketball tournament
     and this weekend's Final Four is reviewed by Matthew
     Kauffman of the HARTFORD COURANT, who writes under the
     header, "Hoop Ads Becoming More Refined."  Kauffman writes
     that in "recent years, the NCAA basketball tournament has"
     been an outlet for such high-end advertisers as "mutual
     funds, insurance policies and even Mercedes-Benz."  First
     Union spokesperson Sandy Deem, whose company is "running
     big-production ads" during the tournament: "If you look at
     the crowd that watches college basketball, they are college-
     educated people." IN-based insurance company Conseco will
     spend a "vast majority" of its $30M ad budget by putting "a
     commercial on every game" during the tournament.  Conseco
     spokesperson Jim Rosensteele: "There's nothing like the NCAA
     tournament to really build exposure with the audience we're
     targeting" (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/26).  In Tampa, Eric Miller
     writes that the revenues from the NCAA Tournament will allow
     the NCAA to distribute more than $140M to its 300-plus
     Division I schools.  The NCAA will gross an "estimated"
     $3.7M from ticket sales for the Final Four and $14.5M in
     gate receipts from the regional games (Eric Miller, TAMPA
     TRIBUNE, 3/26).  In Chicago, Ed Sherman writes that the NCAA
     "has resisted CBS' pleas to move the reporters back" off the
     floor, since courtside seats "will be empty" for the start
     of the second game because reporters will be filing their
     stories (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/26).
          STATE OF THE LOGISTICS: In St. Pete, Brian Landman
     writes that NCAA Exec Dir Cedric Dempsey "expected at least
     50 reporters" for his state-of-the-NCAA news conference
     yesterday at Tropicana Field, but "was surprised" by the
     turnout of "about a dozen."  Dempsey: "I'm wondering if the
     attendance reflects the difficulty of getting around
     logistically.  It's a different site" (ST. PETE TIMES,
     3/26).  In DC, Pete Williams writes that one of the
     "potential problems" is lack of lodging, meaning two teams,
     fans and reporters are staying in Tampa, a 35-minute drive
     from St. Pete (WASHINGTON POST, 3/26).  In St. Pete, Minai &
     Rogers write that "with few exceptions," the NCAA's
     "extensive shuttle system for dignitaries, coaches and
     media" was "working smoothly" (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/26).
          THE WOMEN ARE PLAYING, TOO! CBS analyst Billy Packer,
     on coverage of the NCAA women's basketball tournament: "If
     I'm the women, I'm upset at ESPN.  They play games at
     midnight, and SportsCenter doesn't start with the women's
     tournament.  ... They (NCAA women) should get a network
     that's going to be better at promoting their games."  But
     ESPN spokesperson Mike Soltys said that by moving the
     women's semi-finals to Friday, ESPN gives the games "much
     more coverage than when they were on CBS, which was
     concentrating on the men" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 3/26). 
     ESPN Senior VP/Programming Len DeLuca, on the net expanding
     its coverage from 22 women's games last year to 27 this
     year: "Finding time slots for all those games is not easy." 
     DeLuca added that preempting "SportsCenter" to allow for
     earlier start times "is not an option."  More DeLuca: "CBS
     doesn't preempt '60 Minutes'" (Larry Stewart, L.A. TIMES,
     3/26).  In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes that ESPN's ratings
     for this year's NCAA women's tournament are up 22% over last
     year, while CBS' ratings for the men's tournament are down
     4%.  DeLuca calls the women's tournament "a growth agent,"
     which Purdy writes is "a code phrase for, 'We think we can
     use it to sell a lot more applesauce'" (MERCURY NEWS, 3/26).