WNDY Indianapolis has grabbed the rights to air the Indiana basketball
classic film Hoosiers, which will run 8-10 p.m. March 31. Not only is
Indianapolis the site for the NCAA basketball Final Four and title game next
week, but hometown Butler is one of the four remaining teams.
WISH-WNDY President/General Manager Jeff White says the
response to WNDY airing Hoosiers has been "overwhelming" since the
stations announced it on air and on Facebook. He declined to say how much MGM
demanded for the film, but suggested it was not a princely sum.
Viewers and advertisers alike have expressed abundant interest
in Hoosiers. "We've already sold three packages," says White, "with
multiple spots for each advertiser."
A MyNetworkTV affiliate, WNDY is also promoting the
film with a large banner on the middle of the station's home page. WNDY
produced and aired 13 Butler
games this season. "We've secured
the rights in honor of the university's big win and invite you to join us to
watch," says the website.
It's been a charmed few months for sports-mad Indianapolis, with the hometown Colts in the Super Bowl
and underdog Butler,
a #5 seed when the tourney began, in the Final Four. Both events air on CBS;
the local affiliate is WISH. Butler's last few
games, including its win over Kansas
State March 27, have
posted 24 household ratings.
Butler faces Michigan State in one of the April 3 semifinals.
The final game is April 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Whereas the Colts' popularity is year-round, White says
Butler-mania has hit DMA No. 25 fast and hard. "Overnight, the whole community
has become Butler
fans," he says. "The school is really part of the fabric of the community."
To help viewers better get to know the Butler boys, the LIN stations are offering
online profiles of the players. They're also offering ticket giveaways.
White had initially planned to air an All Access Pass special
on WNDY 7-8 p.m. Friday night, showcasing the weekend's highlights, both in
terms of basketball and the community events built around the roundball action.
With the hometown squad now in the Final Four, both WNDY and WISH will air the
special. "What was a big event has gotten huge," says White.
Gene Hackman stars as Coach Norman Dale in the '86 film,
which IMBD.com's "MovieMeter" says is up 36% in popularity this week-thanks in part
to Butler's unlikely run for the title. The climactic high school championship
game in Hoosiers was filmed at Butler's
ancient Hinkle Fieldhouse arena.
White is enjoying Indy's similarly unlikely run of good
sporting fortune while it lasts. "I don't know another station that has had its
hometown football team in the Super Bowl," he says, "and hometown college team
go to the Final Four in the same year."