NHL Denies Talks with YouTube

From Staci D. Kramer of Paid Content:

The National Hockey League is denying a Bloomberg report from Seoul that it is in talks with YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) to stream live games. Asked about the report based on comments by Google executives, an NHL spokesperson said that “while Google is a valued partner, the NHL has never had any discussions with YouTube to stream live games.”

 

The report from Seoul cited Gautam Anand, Google’s director of content partnerships for Asia Pacific, and Brian Suh, head of YouTube partnerships for Google Korea, and keyed off the success of last year’s streaming deal for the cricket Indian Premier League.

Pens-Hawks Most-Watched non-Winter Classic NHL Regular Season Game Since 2006

NEW YORK – Feb. 23, 2011 – NBC Sports and VERSUS generated viewership milestones for the combined nine hours of hockey coverage this past Sunday with the inaugural “Hockey Day in America” on NBC followed by the 2011 Heritage Classic on VERSUS.

NBC Sports’ coverage of Penguins-Blackhawks, the second game of “Hockey Day in America” which went head-to-head with the Daytona 500, was watched by 1.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game in five years (1/14/06, three-game regional on NBC, 2.0 million). The game also posted a 1.1 rating, tied with last year’s Penguins-Capitals (2/7) for the highest regular-season non-Winter Classic NHL game in four years (3/4/07, three-game regional on NBC, 1.2). The game peaked at a 1.9 rating for its final half hour. Viewership for Sunday’s NHL regional coverage on NBC is not yet available.

 

Including the Winter Classic, NBC Sports is averaging 2.1 million viewers for its first five measured NHL exposures of 2011, the most through five broadcasts in 14 years. In 1997, Fox averaged 2.8 million for its first five broadcasts.

 

The 2011 Heritage Classic on VERSUS Sunday night, played between two Canadian teams (Montreal at Calgary) and won in a 4-0 blowout by Calgary, averaged 608,000 viewers, making it the fourth most-watched regular-season game in the network’s history (third best this season). The game, which peaked at over 700,000 viewers between 7:00-7:15 p.m. ET, was the most-watched regular-season game between two Canadian teams on cable since NHL viewership became available by Nielsen in the 1993/94 season. The 608,000 viewers also marks a 95-percent increase from the 2010/11 NHL regular-season average on VERSUS (311,000 viewers). The game garnered a 0.5 HH coverage rating (0.3 US rating).

 

MOST WATCHED NHL REGULAR-SEASON GAMES IN VERSUS HISTORY (average viewers)

 

12/14/2010 Pittsburgh at Philadelphia 750,000

 

10/7/2010 Philadelphia at Pittsburgh 730,000

 

3/22/2010 Pittsburgh at Detroit 622,000

 

2/20/2011 2011 Heritage Classic: Montreal at Calgary 608,000

 

10/9/2008 Toronto at Detroit 577,000

 

CROSS-CHANNEL PRIORITY: Both “Hockey Day” and the “Heritage Classic” were identified by NBCUniversal’s Marketing Council as cross-channel priorities. They received extensive promotion across NBC Universal’s 20 channels and more than 40 websites. Both events leveraged the newly-expanded resources of the NBC Sports Group by combining the national media assets of NBC Sports and VERSUS and local insight from storied hockey markets like Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia served by Comcast SportsNet.

 

CBC Draws 2 Million For Heritage Classic

Now we have the Canadian numbers. Bruce Dowbiggin Reports:

The TV cameras caught the sign at the Heritage Classic. “Hockey Is Canada’s Game”. Anyone who knows the state of play in the hockey world knows the sign is redundant. Canada rules. But for some insecure fans it needs repeating. So on this frozen Sunday, CBC made sure we knew Canada was still King of Hockey.

 

There was also some tetchy Canadian chauvinism in the media reaction to the wildly popular outdoor game between Montreal and Calgary. While fans ate up the spectacle, domestic press harrumphed over poor ice quality, the Flames’ retro jerseys, the life expectancy of the promotion, lack of other venues in Canada and U.S. TV imperatives. TV ratings gave them a big “Shut Up, Lucy” with 2.087 million in English. (RDS number pas disponible at time of writing.)

VERSUS Draws High Numbers For Heritage Classic

Despite featuring two Canadian teams, and facing potential burnout from hockey fans who had just watched six hours of the sport earlier in the afternoon on NBC, the Heritage Classic in Calgary turned out to be a fairly successful outing for VERSUS on Sunday evening.

As John Ourand reports, the telecast of the NHL’s second outdoor game of the season, featuring Montreal taking on Calgary, drew 608,000 viewers to the network on Sunday night, the third-highest total for a game on the network this season. The game may have been helped by the cross-promotion from NBC, which had fairly regular live hits from Calgary during their well-rated broadcast of Hockey Day in America, especially during the Chicago/Pittsburgh game that preceded it.

The number is well down from the 4.5 million who watched the Winter Classic, but of course, that game featured two popular American teams, was on broadcast television, and aired in primetime. That VERSUS was able to come close to season-high numbers on a day saturated with hockey (and sports in general, with some of the game overlapping with the NBA All-Star Game) and featuring two Canadian teams, which gave them no local markets to draw audiences from, is a big win for the network.

VERSUS posted modest numbers for the rest of the week. Monday night’s Washington-Phoenix telecast drew 272,000 viewers, while Tuesday’s Buffalo-Montreal game scored a fairly similar 269,000 viewers. Finally, a “bonus” game (not aired in the local markets of the teams that were playing) between Minnesota and Chicago drew 163,000 viewers to the network on Wednesday night. Overall, the network averaged 328,000 viewers last week with hockey.

Top 10 Most-Watched VERSUS Games Through 2/23/11

1. Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, 12/14/10 – 750,000 viewers
2. Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh, 10/7/10 – 730,000 viewers
3. Montreal vs. Calgary, 2/20/11 – 608,000 viewers
4. NY Rangers vs. Detroit, 2/7/11 – 534,000 viewers
5. Boston vs. Pittsburgh, 1/10/11 – 523,000 viewers
6. Pittsburgh vs. NY Rangers, 2/1/11 – 460,000 viewers
7. NY Rangers vs. Washington, 1/24/11 – 458,000 viewers
8. Buffalo vs. Boston, 12/7/10 – 438,000 viewers
9. Colorado vs. Detroit, 10/12/10 – 432,000 viewers
10. Chicago vs. Colorado, 10/7/10 – 430,000 viewers

Housekeeping: NBC Draws 0.8 For Bruins/Red Wings

From Sports Media Watch:

For the third consecutive game, NHL action on NBC failed to draw at least 1% of U.S. TV homes.

Last Sunday’s Bruins/Red Wings NHL game earned a 0.8 final rating on NBC, up a tick from Flyers/Rangers in 2009 (0.7). There was no telecast on the comparable date last year, due to the Winter Olympics.

So far this season, three of the four NHL telecasts on NBC have failed to draw at least a 1.0 rating, with the lone exception being the January 1 Winter Classic (PIT/WSH: 2.3).

VERSUS To Air Special Deadline Edition of Hockey Central

It may not be the live extravaganza TSN promises every year, but with the way trades have been happening earlier and earlier this year, VERSUS may have the right move at this year’s trade deadline.

The network will air a one-hour edition of Hockey Central on Deadline Day Monday, February 28th at 7:00 PM ET. Not only will it serve as a lead-in to VERSUS’ broadcast of Chicago/Minnesota, it will presumably recap what the NHL’s 30 teams managed to accomplish before the NHL’s afternoon trade deadline.

This is the first time VERSUS has directed programming towards the trade deadline. TSN typically airs hours upon hours of coverage in Canada, that runs the entire day of the deadline. NHL Network. I don’t have the details of NHL Network’s plans for next Monday, but I anticipate they’ll send out a press release that features at least some simulcasting of the TSN event.

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