Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 17 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoff

Montreal vs. Pittsburgh, Game 1, 7:00 PM ET

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD, will air on VERSUS in Pittsburgh)
Play by Play: John Forslund
Color: Darren Eliot
Reporter: Charissa Thompson

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Bob Cole
Color: Greg Millen
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Elliot Friedman

In “Here We Go Again News”: NBC Revives Antique Policy That Still Probably Works

From the Pens website:

Penguins fans will be able to watch Game 1 tonight and most of the remainder of the Penguins-Canadiens playoff series on the outdoor screen in front of Mellon Arena.

However, the Penguins are not permitted to show Game 2 on the outdoor screen Sunday afternoon in accordance with league broadcasting rights.

We all know “league broadcasting rights” means NBC.  However, this worked last year as Pens fans stayed home or in bars and watched in droves.  We shall all see how it works this year.

NHL Has Best 1st Round on US TV in 10 Years

NEW YORK (April 30, 2010) – By all accounts, the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs was one of the most compelling, exciting and unpredictable in the sport’s history. Goal scoring was up significantly (most since 1996), 12 games were decided in overtime (most since 2001) and the road team compiled a record 27 victories. The drama on the ice fueled substantial business success off the ice, highlighted by VERSUS seeing the most-watched first-round on cable in nine years, NBC earning its best ratings in four years, the Canadian television partners all seeing significant increases and NHL.com setting a monthly traffic record. NBC and VERSUS also combined for the highest average viewership in the U.S. in 10 years.

“The first round of the playoffs was dramatic and exciting, and our passionate fans consumed the game on television, online and in arena in a big way,” said NHL COO John Collins. “Fans are enjoying the playoffs and we are now uniquely positioned to engage and serve them in ways we never have before, especially through our digital platforms.”

VERSUS EARNS BEST NHL POSTSEASON START ON CABLE SINCE 2001

VERSUS’ average viewership of 595,000 for the first round of the playoffs was the best for the NHL on U.S. cable in nine years (ESPN/ESPN 2, 608,000 in 2001) and 35 percent higher than last year (442,000), leading VERSUS to its best April prime time performance in network history.

VERSUS’ first-round coverage averaged a .7 HH rating, up 75 percent compared to last year’s Conference Quarterfinals (.4).

In addition, VERSUS earned the best first-round cable viewership in the key Men 18-49 demo since 2001 (ESPN/ESPN2) and the best in the Men 25-54 demo since 2000 (ESPN/ESPN2). The Men 18-34, Men 18-49 and Men 25-54 demo ratings all were record highs for VERSUS for the Conference Quarterfinal round.

This overall success is highlighted by the Montreal-Washington Game 7, which garnered a 1.2 household rating and averaged 1,151,000 viewers, making it VERSUS’ highest-rated and most-watched first-round game in network history.

NHL ON NBC VIEWERSHIP UP 18%

Viewership for NBC Sports’ four Conference Quarterfinal broadcasts (1.72 million viewers) was up 18 percent compared to 2009 (1.46 million) and the highest since 2006. The household rating of a 1.1 for the four games also is the best since 2006 and up 10 percent over last year (1.0). Last Sunday’s Phoenix-Detroit game (1.1) was up 57 percent vs. last year’s Washington-New York Rangers game (0.7).

COMBINED U.S. VIEWERSHIP HIGHEST IN A DECADE

Combined NBC and VERSUS averaged 742,000 viewers per telecast, the most since ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 averaged 750,000 viewers in 2000 and a 24 percent increase over last year. The combined average viewership was the highest among females since 2000, the highest among Men 18-49 since 2001 and the most among Men 25-54 since 2000.

TSN VIEWERSHIP UP 89%

In the first round of the playoffs, TSN averaged 1.07 million viewers, 89 percent higher than its average audience in the first round of the playoffs last season 567,000.

CBC VIEWERSHIP UP 50%

CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada had the program’s highest overall average audience for Round One since 2004. Audiences to Round One in 2010 averaged 1.422 million. In 2009, Round One on CBC had an average audience of 951,000.

NHL ON RDS UP 12%

RDS averaged 1.34 million viewers for the Montreal-Washington series, 12 percent higher than Canadiens playoff games on RDS last season.

FIRST ROUND TV MILESTONES

The Washington-Montreal Game 7 was the highest-rated (1.2 HH rating) and most-watched (1.2 million viewers) NHL Conference Quarterfinals game ever on VERSUS and the most-watched NHL Conference Quarterfinals game on U.S. cable since Minnesota-Colorado in 2003 on ESPN.

TSN’s audience of 2.8 million for the Washington-Montreal Game 7 was the highest audience ever recorded for an NHL game on TSN and was the most-watched program on Canadian television Wednesday night in all key demographics.

The Montreal-Washington series ranks as the most-watched playoff series ever on TSN (any rounds) with an average audience of 1.8 million viewers over seven games.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REGIONAL SPORTS NETWORKS

The ratings across four Comcast SportsNets [Chicago, Mid-Atlantic (Capitals), Philadelphia and California (Sharks)] were up 30 percent over last season.

DIGITAL STRATEGY PAYS DIVIDENDS

The NHL is engaging and connecting with more fans than ever on its digital platforms and the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs has continued that trend. Some highlights from the Conference Quarterfinals:

- April was the most-trafficked month in the history of NHL.com in terms of unique visitors, surpassing 17 million

- Video starts on NHL.com increased by 170 percent over the Conference Quarterfinal Round last year

- Unique visitors to NHL.com were up 43 percent

- Page views on NHL.com were up 53 percent

- Mobile page views were up 200 percent

SUPPORT THE TEAM

In-venue merchandise sales volume for the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs increased by 14 percent compared to the first round in 2009.

FULL HOUSES

Averaging 18,670 fans per game, these NHL Playoffs are playing to 101.4 percent capacity.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT THE NHL & THE PLAYOFFS

“The National Hockey League has firmed up its relationship with the ad community and viewing audience.” – Variety

“The sport is enjoying a resurgence.” – Mediaweek

“…this first round might be one of the most entertaining first rounds in NHL history.” – USA Today

“Enthralling” – NY Times

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NHL’S RECORD-BREAKING BUSINESS SUCCESS IN 2009-10

- Corporate sponsorship was up 20 percent

- New League partners this season include Geico, Starwood Hotels, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, LG Electronics and Hershey’s Canada

- Ad spending on NHL® media increased by 37 percent over last season

- NHL.com ad revenue is up 50 percent over last year

- Revenue from big event platforms, led by the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, are up 22 percent over last season

- Unique visitors to NHL.com surpassed last year’s record by 32 percent

- NHL Game Center Live™ subscriptions were up 25 percent

- NHL Network subscribers have increased by 104 percent

- Sales at SHOP.NHL.com were up 12 percent from last year’s record

- Viewership for NBC’s Game of the Week telecasts were up 13 percent

- Ratings for exclusive telecasts on Versus were up 20 percent

- NHL Mobile™ reached 1.6 million page views, an increase of 233 percent over last season

TSN Draws Predictably Ridiculous Numbers For Caps/Habs Game 7

From Habs Inside Out:

TSN reports record ratings:

Last night’s dramatic Game 7 victory by the Montreal Canadiens over the Washington Capitals was watched by an average audience of 4.7 million viewers on TSN and RDS combined according to overnight data from BBM Canada. Audience levels peaked at 8.2 million viewers (TSN and RDS combined) in the final minutes of the third period as Montreal held on to upset Washington and win the series.

TSN’s audience of 2.8 million for the game was the highest audience ever recorded for an NHL game on TSN and was the most-watched program on Canadian television last night in all key advertising demographics. The Montreal-Washington series ranks as the most-watched playoff series ever on TSN (any rounds) with an average audience of 1.8 million viewers over seven games.

RDS’ audience of 1.9 million represents an impressive 51% share of the Quebec-Franco market and was the top-ranked French network in all key advertising demographics. RDS’ average for the Montreal-Washington series was 1.34 million over seven games – 12% higher compared to Canadiens playoff games on RDS last season.

TSN’s average audience for each of its first round playoff series is as follows:

Montreal-Washington (7 games on TSN) – 1.8 million

Detroit-Phoenix (7 games on TSN) – 811,000

Chicago-Nashville (5 games on TSN) – 777,000

New Jersey-Philadelphia (4 games on TSN) – 545,000

Caps/Habs Game 7 Draws 1.15 Million Viewers on VERSUS

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 30, 2010)- VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, enters the Conference Semifinals on the heels of a record-breaking Conference Quarterfinal round. VERSUS’ first-round coverage averaged a .7 HH rating and 595,000 viewers, making it the highest-rated and most-watched first round on cable since 2001.  The HH rating and average viewership was up 75 percent and 35 percent, respectively, as compared to last year’s Conference Quarterfinals, leading to VERSUS earning its most-watched April in primetime in network history.

Additionally, more than 50 percent of VERSUS’ Conference Quarterfinal games delivered more than a half million viewers with nine of the network’s top 10 most-watched first-round games all taking place over the past two weeks.  This overall momentum is highlighted by Game 7 of the Washington/Montreal series on April 28, 2010, which garnered a 1.2 HH rating and averaged 1,151,000 viewers, making it VERSUS’ highest-rated and most-watched first round game in network history and the most watched first-round game since 2003.  The 2010 Conference Quarterfinals was also the most-watched among Men 25-54 on cable since 2000.

VERSUS.com, the online destination for extensive information about the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, also experienced double-digit growth.  In April 2010, to date, as compared to April 2009, visitor’s average time on the site increased 40 percent, page views per visitor showed 20-percent growth and there has been a 10-percent spike in overall page views.  Throughout the remainder of the postseason, fans will continue to have access to editorial coverage from some of the most knowledgeable hockey sources; exclusive videos and interviews as well as daily highlights from all of VERSUS’ games; polls and quizzes; an interactive community section where fans can post videos and photos and join or start message boards; AccuScore game projections; and live gamecasts and scoreboards for every game.  The network’s recently launched hockey application on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry Storm is the ideal way for viewers to access up-to-date statistical information, expert editorial analysis and videos on the go for the Playoffs.

VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD).  Now in more than 75 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR).  VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming.  The network is home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including The Daily Line, Sports Soup and Sports Jobs with Junior Seau.  VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

Your Morning Music Breakdown

Good morning all.  Spotty posting today, as I’m very busy, and I’ll be finishing it off with a trip to the Hoodwink festival out at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.  If you’re there, say what up.

After that it’s Bamboozle Saturday/Sunday.  Doubtful there’ll be a guest poster, but if there is, I’ll let you know.  Enjoy the day:

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