Live Canadian football beat the Super Bowl replayed, and there was no rush to watch pennant-race baseball. Maybe the most striking stat, though, in the preliminary Nielsen ratings for TV sports on strikebound Sunday was the many sets turned off.
But hold everything! They still may have no NFL games, but CBS' John Madden, Jack Buck, Tom Brookshier and/or colleagues in the booth will have football to broadcast this Sunday: NCAA football. NCAA Division III football. Watch out, CFL on NBC.
That's four regional games to be announced today. Wiles Hallock, NCAA Football Television Committee chairman: "We are excited about the decision by CBS to telecast the Division III games this week . . ." (. . . and satisfy the annual requirement usually filled at small-college playoff time.)
Excited? Division III to the fore after a move to put Division I games on network on Sundays (along with the regular Saturday NCAA dates) during the NFL strike was spiked by Turner Broadcasting (TBS). The NCAA had agreed to let individual schools make deals for games switched from Saturday to Sunday, above the limit of "exposures" in the $263.5 million ABC/CBS four-year package. TBS objected, on the strength of its $18 million supplementary agreement.
Why? NCAA said "We prefer you talk to (TBS)." TBS' Robert Wussler said his outfit had "proposed alternatives to the NCAA in confidence and we have not heard back from them." No, said Wussler, TBS' agreement with the NFL players union to do all-star games during the strike had nothing to do with it.
The "overnights," quick rating checks, for CBS (Super Bowl), NBC (introducing CFL) and ABC (Orioles vs. Brewers), indicated viewership about a third to half the size of what NBC and CBS drew for NFL games on a usual Sunday in '81.