TV / Radio Notebook -- Sonics, Four Others Tap Pay-Per-View

The Seattle SuperSonics are among five NBA teams selling broadcasts of regular-season home games on pay-per-view cable this season.

The Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings also show home games via pay per view.

The packages could become lucrative revenue sources for clubs since each team can show any or all home games on pay per view and isn't required to split the profits with other teams. The number of games available and the cost of viewing those games varies from team to team.

Seattle is offering 14 games at an NBA-high $16.95 for a single telecast. Portland, which will show the most PPV games - 25 - has the second highest per-game-price, $15.95.

The Blazers also offer the cheapest package. Viewers purchasing all 25 Blazer telecasts will pay a total of $210 or $8.40 per game. Purchasing Seattle's entire 14-game plan will cost subscribers $139.95 ($9.99 a game).

Sacramento, which will have four broadcasts, offers the cheapest single-game price, $7.95 per game.

While such packages are viewed in many quarters of the NBA as the wave of the future, it's nothing new for the Sonics.

Three seasons after winning the 1978-79 NBA title, the team started the Sonics Superchannel, offering 90 Sonics' games (eight exhibitions and 82 regular-season games), to cable subscribers for $120 ($1.33 a game). Superchannel made a profit of $145,000 its first year and made almost $800,000 its second season.

But when the team's performance fell the next two seasons, the Superchannel slipped into the red, losing more than $1 million in its final season, 1984-85.


Ratings for Huskies' appearances on ABC are down this season from those in the previous two.

In 1991, the national championship season, the Huskies averaged a 24.6 rating and 49.7 share in the Seattle market, not counting the Apple Cup. In 1992, they averaged a 25.2 rating and a 55 share, again, not counting the Apple Cup.

This season's numbers for four games (no numbers were available for last week's game with USC) are an 18.4 rating and a 46.3 share.

(Rating refers to the percentage of all television households in a given market that are watching a given program. Share refers to the percentage of televisions in the market that were turned on and tuned into a particular program.)

The 1991 Apple Cup game had a 32.2 rating and a 64 share. Last season's WSU-UW game on ABC had a 32.5 rating and a 65 share.

Still, despite the downturn in Husky-watching, Seattle remains the No. 1 market for ABC's games for the third consecutive season. ABC games have averaged a 10 rating and 28 share in the Seattle market this season (Orlando is second, with a 9.6 rating and 21 share).


-- Soccer fanatics, ESPN will televise the 1994 World Cup draw from Las Vegas Dec. 19 (noon PST). Bob Ley and ESPN soccer analyst Seamus Malin will host the 90-minute show. ESPN and ABC will show all 52 World Cup games.

---------------------------------------------------------. NBA pay-per-view prices.

-- Phoenix - Number of seasons: first. Number of games: 14. Prices: Single game, $14.95; 14 games, $140. Best per-game price: $10.

-- Portland - Seasons: 9. Games: 25. Prices: Single game, $15.95; 20 games, $180; 25 games, $210. Best per-game price: $8.40.

-- Sacramento - Seasons: 2. Games: 4. Prices: Single game, $7.95. Best per-game price: $7.95.

-- San Antonio - Seasons: 9. Games: 20. Prices: Single game, $14.95; 20 games, $199. Best per-game price: $9.95.

-- Seattle - Seasons: first. Games: 14. Prices: Single game, $16.95; 7 games, $83.95; 14 games, $139.95. Best per-game price: $9.99.