COME MONDAY, NBC WILL BE ALRIGHT: NET CONCLUDES TPC TODAY
Despite inclement weather forcing the conclusion of The
Players Championship (TPC) to be postponed until this
morning, NBC's coverage of yesterday's fourth round, which
featured Tiger Woods in contention for the title, earned a
5.6/12 preliminary overnight Nielsen rating, up 4% from last
year's fourth-round rating of a 5.4/12 (THE DAILY). In
Boston, Jim McCabe writes that NBC affils "were given the
option of carrying" today's coverage, which ran from 9:00am-
10:35am ET on NBC (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/27). In Jacksonville,
Mike Bianchi questioned Sunday's start time: "It's ludicrous
to have a starting time of 2 p.m. for a golf tournament in
Florida in March" (FL TIMES-UNION, 3/27). In Toronto, Ken
Fidlin writes under the header, "Arrogant NBC Honchos Blow
Responsibility": "NBC had jammed its coverage of one of the
most important tournaments on the golf calendar into a 3
1/2-hour window between NBA telecasts. A reasonable tee
time for the [Hal] Sutton-Woods pairing would have been
somewhere between 12:30 and 1 p.m." (TORONTO SUN, 3/27).
GOLF A TOUGH COUNTER TO NCAA: NBC's Saturday coverage
of the TPC earned a 4.7/12 overnight, up 31% from last
year's 3.6/9. Saturday's Univ. of WI-Purdue Univ. NCAA Men's
basketball tournament game earned a 5.8/13 overnight, down
22% from last year's Gonzaga Univ.-Univ. of CT game, which
earned a 7.4/19. CBS' coverage of the MI State Univ.-IA
State Univ. game earned an 8.0/15, down 4% from last year's
OH State-St. John's game, which earned an 8.3/17. Sunday's
UNC-Tulsa Univ. game earned a 5.1/12 overnight, down 27%
from last year's Temple-Duke game, which earned a 7.0/16,
while yesterday's Univ. of FL-OK State Univ. game earned a
7.2/15, down 17% from last year's Univ. of KY-MI State game,
which earned an 8.7/17 (THE DAILY). For more, (#27).
GOLF LEVERAGE? In Boston, Jim McCabe noted that talks
on a new PGA Tour TV deal "probably will start this summer."
One proposal has the TPC being moved to May, "which could
take it away from NBC because of a conflict with the NBA
playoffs." Some Tour execs "like the idea of having a
marquee event each month." The Tour noted that network
ratings for weekend golf action are up 11% from '99, while
ESPN's weekend ratings are up 26% (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/26).
LOOKING AHEAD: CBS Exec Producer Terry Ewert said that
Saturday's NCAA Final Four pre-game show "will feature
several issues pieces anchored by reporter Armen Keteyian.
Topics will include the recent series of NCAA player
suspensions, ... and the troublesome issue of shoe company-
sponsored summer camps" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/27).