Building a Dream Basketball Team : Television: Potential Olympic squad members will be announced on ‘Selection Show,’ airing today on NBC.
There was little fanfare when Jerry West was chosen for the U.S. men’s 1960 Olympic basketball team.
The future Laker legend had played on a collegiate all-star team that won the Olympics trials tournament in Denver. Under the rules, at least seven players from that squad had to be included on the Olympic team, and an official simply informed him that he would be part of the contingent that would play in Rome.
It will be a much different story today when the months of speculation end over which 10 NBA players will be on the team that seeks to represent the United States in Barcelona.
USA Basketball, the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball, which is responsible for selecting U.S. teams in international competition, has bought an hour of air time from NBC to broadcast “The Dream Team: USA Basketball Selection Show” (2 p.m., Channels 4, 36 and 39).
The team members will be announced and interviewed on the program. Bob Costas will host from the Secaucus, N.J., studios of NBA Entertainment, the league’s video and film production subsidiary. Marv Albert will be in Chicago, further increasing the likelihood that Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan will be on the team.
Other players expected to be selected include Laker guard Magic Johnson, forwards Larry Bird and Charles Barkley and centers David Robinson and Patrick Ewing.
This team, the first Olympic squad to include NBA players under a 1989 rule change by basketball’s international governing body, will be the best-covered Olympic team in TV history--if viewers are willing to pay a price and tune in during the wee hours.
Olympics TripleCast, NBC’s pay service, will televise every Olympic basketball game live, not just those involving the U.S. team. When the tournament begins July 26 in Barcelona, Spain, that will be as many as six games in a day.
Olympics TripleCast will be presented on three channels: the Red, White and Blue channels.
Coordinating producer Terry Ewert said the Blue Channel will mainly be devoted to team sports, the Red Channel will air “sports geared more to men"--boxing, track and field and swimming--and the White Channel will feature sports “more crafted for the female audience"--gymnastics, diving, tennis and equestrian events.
“Our market research has told us that there’s a small, but passionate audience that wants to see every nuance at the basketball venue,” Ewert said. “The pay package was really not meant for the general audience because they are going to get the general Olympic Games spectacle from NBC.
“We’re very sport specific and want to give them as much as we possibly can of the specific sports. That’s our focus. NBC is telling the broad story of the Olympic Games; we’re concentrating on 14 of the top sports.”
Olympics TripleCast coverage will be live and uninterrupted, beginning each day at 2 a.m. Pacific time.
Subscribers will be charged $95 for the bronze package, which includes the first seven days of the Games, or weekend days only (two Fridays, two Saturdays and three Sundays). The $125 silver package provides the entire 1,080 hours of programming (12 consecutive hours live each day and a 12-hour replay) plus a 50% discount on selected NBC Olympic catalogue merchandise. The $170 gold package includes all the programming, plus a commemorative book, an Olympic pin and a highlight videotape.
The rights for the pay package were included in the $401 million NBC paid for the U.S. broadcast rights. A spokeswoman said that Olympics TripleCast will spent $55 million in production and other distribution costs and an additional $40 million in advertising and marketing. The project is a joint venture between Cablevision, one of the nation’s largest cable system operators, and NBC.