NBC AND USA HOPE FOR BIG NUMBERS FOR RYDER CUP COVERAGE
The 33rd Ryder Cup is underway in Brookline, MA and in
Boston, George Kimball notes that TV "got what it wanted"
with this morning's pairing of Tiger Woods/Tom Lehman
against Jesper Parnevik/Sergio Garcia. The match has been
shown live on USA Network since 7:30am ET (BOSTON HERALD,
9/24). NBC and USA Network will feature 27 hours of event
coverage, as NBC alone will have a "record-breaking" 16 1/2
hours of combined coverage on Saturday and Sunday (ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 9/24). NBC runs a quarter-page ad in USA
TODAY promoting its Ryder Cup coverage under the header,
"It's Time to Bring the Cup Back Home" (THE DAILY). After
a 4.1 Nielsen rating for the last U.S.-based Ryder Cup in
'95, NBC is "anticipating" 40 million viewers for the '99
event (BOSTON HERALD, 9/24). NBC Sports Exec Producer Tommy
Roy, on the net's strategy for covering the event: "The way
we typically show golf is to follow the leaders, but here
we'll show the matches that are closest to ending or closest
in competition. If Tiger is blowing out his opponent in a
match, you won't see much of him" (HARTFORD COURANT, 9/24).
The Golf Channel is also offering 21 hours of shows, updates
and analysis from Brookline. The cable channel has 39
employees attending the event (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/24).
RYDER CUP NOTES: In Boston, Syre & Stein estimate that
12,000-15,000 people "are walking through the" Ryder Cup
Golf Shop daily. The "average" tab for a customer is
"about" $130, which adds up to a daily gross of "about"
$1.5M (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/24)....In Jacksonville, Garry Smits
reports that when the players were introduced during
yesterday's opening ceremonies, Sergio Garcia "easily got
the loudest ovation of any player, American or European."
More than 1,200 media credentials have been issued for the
event (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/24)....FSN's Keith Olbermann
noted the increased interest in the Ryder Cup: "In July
1997, half of sports fans asked would've believed you if
you'd told them the Ryder Cup was a coffee-protective device
from the truck rental industry" ("Primetime," 9/23).