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Ratings, Coverage Deservedly Rise for Bona Women

Amanda Peet in TIFF 2008.

Amanda Peet

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team’s drive to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament has given the local media a bit of a problem.

They have to be asking how much coverage does it deserve?

I’ve always said that Title IX requires colleges and universities to fund all non-football related programs equally but that it doesn’t force the media to cover them equally.

After all, the media’s primary goal is to serve the interest of their readers and viewers.

The one available measurement of interest on the Bona women’s historic run is local TV ratings for the games carried on ESPN2.

The Bona women averaged a 2.3 rating for their first round win over Florida Gulf Coast Sunday on ESPN2.That is less than a third of the 7.5 rating for the Bona men’s loss to Florida State on Friday on Channel 4, a CBS station that is a much stronger channel than ESPN2.

The Bona women’s rating almost was equal to the 2.5 rating that Syracuse’s first-round Friday men’s win over North Carolina-Asheville on truTV, a channel that is less popular with sports fans than ESPN2. Of course, more local viewers were off on Sunday than on Friday. Syracuse’s second-round victory over Kansas State carried on Channel 4 Saturday had a 4.9 rating.

The Bona women’s first-round win led the Buffalo News to carry a pregame story Tuesday on the top of the page over stories about a Buffalo Sabres victory during their playoff run and the Buffalo Bills draft plans. Based on interest, it was an arguable call. There is much more interest in the Sabres and the Bills. However, the Bona women are making history in this NCAA tournament and that is part of the equation of where the story belonged. It was a close call, but I would have gone with the Sabres win above a Bona pregame story if interest was the only criteria.

The Bona’s game one win undoubtedly led to increased interest Tuesday since they were going where no Western New York women’s team had gone before — into the second round.

The Bona women’s 66-63 win over Marist Tuesday practically received Bills-like play this morning. There was a big page 1 picture in the News and a big top of the sports page story on a relatively slow sports day. The rest of the front page had a Sabres pregame story, a story about University at Buffalo football and a high school sports column. There is no arguing with the newspaper play of the Bona story as interest in the team is expanding and can be documented.

The Bona second-round win had a 4.0 rating, which is almost twice as high as its rating for game one. That still is about half of the rating the Bona men received on a stronger channel but a 4.0 on ESPN2 is a very, very impressive rating. The rating is the equivalent of about 26,000 households.

That is nowhere near what the Bills or the Sabres average or what the Bona men would have gotten if they had made it to the second round. It also is nowhere near the size audience the Bona women deserve to have. But it is a good measurement of how far the interest in women’s college basketball has come in Western New York.

NBC premieres another charmcom, “Bent,” bound to get little viewership at 9 tonight on Channel 2. It stars Amanda Peet as a divorced single mother and lawyer. She hires a gambling addict, surfer and perpetually late ladies man (David Walton) as a contractor to spruce up her new home and perhaps her life. Jeffrey Tambor also is aboard as the contractor’s father, a Fleetwood Mac fanatic.

Peet is as adorable as always and the banter between the two leads is occasionally amusing. But Tambor is wasted in a pilot that doesn’t as much make you laugh as occasionally smile.

Rating: 2 stars out of 4

pergament@msn.com   

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1 response to "Ratings, Coverage Deservedly Rise for Bona Women"

  1. Chris says:

    “It also is nowhere near the size audience the Bona women deserve to have.”

    What size audience do they deserve to have? It seems like the people who were interested in the Bonnies watched the game. Why should more people have turned it on?

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