The Terps-Cavaliers clash Sunday on Channel 2 posted a whopping 11.4 rating with a 23 share of the audience, far outdistancing the weekend sports competition, according to Channel 11's Sharon Walz, this week's official "On the Air" ratings provider.
That's the second-best college basketball number of the season, placing behind the Maryland-North Carolina game at College Park last month, which did a 13.6/19 for Channel 54.
The Maryland numbers augur well for Channel 54, which will have the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament this weekend, and for Channel 13, which has exclusivity on the NCAA tournament next week. Either station could expect ratings in the 15-18 range for games involving the Terps.
Clearing the puck
Hope you've caught some of those funny promos for Fox's coming coverage of the NHL. Players such as Wayne Gretzky, Pavel Bure, Joe Juneau of the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, who stars in "Leave it to Beezer," a takeoff on the 1950s sitcom "Leave It to Beaver," already have taken their turns.
The opening for the season premiere will be filled with the kind of high-tech sound and visual advances that marked the network's debut to football last fall. And, in a cute twist for the kiddies, each regional game will begin with a pair of animated robots, adorned in the logos of the involved teams, facing off.
Fox is having some success on the advertising front, with 70 percent of its hockey slots already sold, according to a report in the current edition of Mediaweek magazine. According to the magazine, regular-season spots are going for $25,000 to $30,000, with playoff ads garnering $40,000.
Making room for little guys
Don't include ESPN's Digger Phelps among those who say that the inclusion of smaller schools, such as Mount St. Mary's, in next week's NCAA men's basketball tournament somehow cheapens the event or makes it harder for the bigger and presumably better conferences to get their teams into championship play.
"[Mount coach] Jim Phelan is one of the classiest guys in college basketball, and there's nothing wrong with teams like his being in the tournament," said Phelps this week.
"We're not the NBA or the NFL. Let these teams show up. You look at Mount St. Mary's. They know they're going to be a 16 seed. But with Jim, he's getting his first [Division I] tournament watch. This has got to be like giving those people [Mount fans] their own Super Bowl week."
Working day and night
Lest there be any doubt that Turner Sports is getting the maximum out of studio host/play-by-play guy Tim Brando, check out his schedule for this week:
After being host of "Inside the NBA" Tuesday night and calling the Atlanta-Denver NBA game for SportSouth, Brando will work two opening-round games of the Southeastern Conference tournament for Jefferson-Pilot tonight. Tomorrow, he'll call two SEC quarterfinal games, then call the Hawks-Knicks. On Saturday, Brando will work one SEC semifinal, then hop a plane for the Hawks-Celtics contest at Boston Garden.
It helps, of course, that the SEC tournament is being played at Atlanta's Georgia Dome, which is next door to both the Omni, where the Hawks play, and the Turner headquarters, but eight games and one studio show in five days has got to be a record of some sort.