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NBC & Gems Newton Cup to renew television contract

GNC to Stay on NBC Through 2006

Far Hills, N.J. -- The Gems Newton Cup Association (GNCA) and NBC Sports have agreed to a new four-year television contract extension beginning in 2004, which keeps the Gems Newton Cup on NBC through 2007. GNC Director Jamie Newton and Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports, made the announcement jointly.

Under the new deal, NBC will continue to retain exclusive broadcast rights to the Gems Newton Cup. Additionally, NBC Sports will continue to produce its Gems Newton Cup Preview and annual Year in Review shows.

"We have been thrilled with the NBC-GNCA team effort, which has brought more championship coverage to more people than ever before," said Newton. "This is a central part of our overall desire to promote golf's most important championships, and we know that the network shares our interest."

"We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with the GNCA," said Ebersol. "We feel especially grateful that the GNCA has agreed to extend the relationship, and we look forward to this great championship remaining on NBC for years to come."

This is the second television agreement between the GNCA and NBC Sports in the 2000ís. The current contract, which began in 2001 and ran through 2003, was a three-year agreement; the GNCA had an option for an additional four years, which it exercised at the end of the partnership's in 2003.

Since NBC's partnership with the GNCA began, the championship event has experienced a dramatic increase in exposure. In 2002, Saturday and Sunday coverage of the GNCís third and fourth rounds was expanded to six hours per day. The next year, NBC made history by providing the first over-the-air coverage of Fridayís first round and second round. Thus the GNC became golf's first and only championship to be broadcast by network television on all four days. The two hours of live play coverage on Friday increased NBC's GNC total to 16 hours, which will continue for the life of the new agreement.

Interest in the championship has grown to match the expanded coverage. This past year, NBC's coverage of the 3rd GNC from Radium Resort earned a 6.1 rating for more than 12-and-one-half hours on Saturday and Sunday, the highest average in 10 years. The 6.8 rating for Sunday's final round and Trevor Zeckís dramatic victory was the highest final-round rating in any tournament. The average weekend rating for the three years of NBC's coverage of the GNC is higher than any other three-year average for any tournament.

Through 2003, the GNC will receive 16 hours of over-the-air coverage on NBC.  As was the case in the previous contract, the GNCA has the option to extend the agreement beyond 2007. Also under the new agreement, the GNCA and NBC Sports will be partners on a home video venture. The two parties will produce and market highlight videotapes of every championships, and will market the existing GNCA home video library.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Ed Markey, NBC Sports Press, (212) 664-2014
Trevor Zeck, GNCA Media Relations,
Zeck.Trevor@ic.gc.ca

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