BREAKFAST AT SAWGRASS: NBC GOES ALL OUT WITH TPC COVERAGE
USA TODAY's Harry Blauvelt reports that during NBC's
early morning coverage of yesterday's completion of the
final round of The Players Championship (TPC), a "computer
foul-up" at 10:00am ET resulted in "a half dozen stations"
being "automatically switched" to a tape of the broadcast's
opening moments. Blauvelt: "When the error was discovered
after eight minutes, NBC switched back to the live feed"
(USA TODAY, 3/28). MEDIAWEEK reports that NBC "spared no
cost" in airing the TPC, as the network used 28 cameras, 19
miles of cable and 90 technicians on the event. Also, for
the "first time," NBC "used global positioning satellites"
during its TPC coverage "to provide viewers with precise
statistical information on four key holes. Viewers learned
the club used by each golfer on those holes and the exact
distance of each putt, down to the inch" (MEDIAWEEK, 3/27).
WHAT ARE THESE NUMBERS TELLING US? In Dallas, Barry
Horn notes that NBC's TPC coverage on Sunday, fueled by
Tiger Woods in contention, pulled a 5.6/12 overnight rating,
compared to NBC's lead-in NBA regional coverage which earned
a 3.6/10 overnight. Horn: "That's more than two million
fewer homes for Allen Iverson and Reggie Miller et al. ...
Forget about Vince Carter. The NBA needs to think of a way
to get Tiger Woods in a basketball uniform." NBC Sports VP/
Communications Kevin Sullivan told Horn that NBC "would have
come back" with final-round coverage of the TPC on Monday
even "if Woods was no factor and [Hal] Sutton was trying to
hold off, say, Scott Hoch" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/28). USA
TODAY's Rudy Martzke notes that TPC impacted Sunday's NCAA
men's basketball tournament coverage on CBS, as overnights
were down "a combined 21% from last year." CBS' four
regional finals averaged a 6.5 overnight rating, down 17%
from last year's 7.8 (USA TODAY, 3/28). DAILY VARIETY's
Rick Kissel notes that CBS is averaging a 6.0/12 for the
men's tourney, even with '99, but "off by about 10% from the
net's mid-to-late '90s results" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/28).
TRAFFIC UPDATE: Live@17, the joint Webcast venture of
the PGA Tour, USA Network and Microcast which provided live
Web coverage of the 17th hole at the TPC, attracted more
than five million hits Thursday-Sunday. Simultaneous
viewership peaked at noon on Friday at 155,000, while the
average viewing session that day exceeded three hours. Data
had 60% of the users on a broadband connection (Microcast).