Sabres Draw Blockbuster Numbers for Bruins Showdown

BUFFALO, N.Y. (November 30, 2011) — The Buffalo Sabres’ tilt with the Boston Bruins on Nov. 23 drew the highest television rating so far this season for telecasts on MSG. The divisional matchup posted a 12.1 rating and a 20 share regionally. Ratings for the telecast actually peaked at 14.9 during the shootout when Boston’s Benoit Pouliot beat Jhonas Enroth to seal a 4-3 victory for the Bruins.

“The matchup was arguably the most anticipated of the season,” said Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black. Our fans are awesome and we are very pleased and humbled by the fact that for the second straight month, the Buffalo Sabres’ television ratings on MSG continue to lead all US-based NHL teams.”

The 12.1 rating indicates that 12.1 percent of television-equipped households were tuned into the game at some point during the broadcast and the 20 share means 20 percent of households watching TV in the region Wednesday night were watching the game.

Last Wednesday’s ratings were the highest among the 19 Sabres games broadcast on MSG so far this season. The second-most viewed contest was the team’s home opener against Carolina on Oct. 14, which drew an 11.5 rating and 18 share regionally.

On average, MSG telecasts of Sabres games have earned an 8.81 rating regionally so far this season. The team posted the highest ratings in three years during the month October when telecasts drew an average rating of 8.3.

NBC Sports Network Starts Putting Together Their Soccer Team

NEW YORK – November 30, 2011 – Arlo White will serve as the play-by-play voice for NBC Sports Group’s coverage of Major League Soccer (MLS), starting with the first broadcast on NBC Sports Network on March 11, 2012, it was announced today.

“Arlo is one of the top voices calling soccer today in the U.S., and we are very excited to have him be the lead play-by-play announcer to launch our new agreement with Major League Soccer,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “I also want to sincerely thank the Seattle Sounders FC ownership for making Arlo available, so he can be the MLS voice for the NBC Sports Group to a national audience.”

White, who spent the last two years as the play-by-play voice for the Seattle Sounders FC of MLS on television and radio, is a native of England. He previously spent nine years with BBC Radio Sport in England where he was part of the BBC Radio 5-Live announcing team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. White also served as a host on BBC Radio 5 Live and hosted the station’s flagship Premier League Football show, Saturday 5 Live Sport, as well as the Monday Night Club alongside BBC football commentator John Motson.

“It is a tremendous honor for me to join the NBC Sports Group, an organization that I have revered from afar for many years,” said White. “I am extremely passionate about the future of Major League Soccer, and this partnership with NBC will provide a huge boost for the sport in the United States. I am very proud to have been called up to play a major role in it.

“I am indebted to the Seattle Sounders FC and the club’s wonderful fans,” White added. “Joe Roth and Adrian Hanauer provided me with an opportunity for which I will always be grateful. It was a privilege to serve as the voice of the Sounders, and I thank the supporters for giving me such a warm welcome.”

From 2002 to 2005, White was part of the 5 Live Breakfast program on the BBC, where he covered, among other events, the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and various Champions League football matches.

The remainder of the NBC Sports Group’s MLS broadcasters will be announced at a later date.

In August, Major League Soccer (MLS) and the NBC Sports Group announced a three-year media rights agreement that commences at the start of the 2012 MLS season. The partnership calls for 46 MLS games and four U.S. National Team contests to be televised live across both NBC and NBC Sports Network each season and live-streamed on NBCSports.com. This agreement was the first rights deal for the NBC Sports Network, which will be re-branded from VERSUS on January 2, 2012.

Each season, NBC will broadcast three regular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two appearances by the U.S. National Team, marking the first time four MLS matches will be broadcast on network television since 2002. The NBC Sports Network will televise 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and two U.S. National Team matches. All telecasts on NBC and NBC Sports Network will consist of pre-game and post-game coverage. NBCSports.com will live stream all NBC Sports Group matches and will add bonus features similar to its NFL and NHL streams.

Along with MLS telecasts on five Comcast SportsNets (Philadelphia, New England, Bay Area, Mid-Atlantic and Chicago), this agreement provides The League with coverage across the NBC Sports Group’s unique four-tier portfolio of assets: broadcast network, national cable, regional sports networks and digital platforms.

VGTRK Aquires Russian TV Rights

NEW YORK (November 30, 2011) – The National Hockey League (NHL) and the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK | RTR) today announced the signing of an agreement giving the Russian broadcaster the rights to telecast live NHL® games.

VGTRK | RTR will show multiple games per week, which will be shared between their free-to-air channel Rossiya 2 and their sports channel Sport 1. Rossiya 2 is received by a potential 80 million viewers and Sport 1 by 3.5 million, making this deal a significant addition to the League’s International TV distribution.

“Providing NHL games on television in Russia is important given that some of the League’s biggest stars such as Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin were born, grew up and began their hockey careers there,” said John Collins, NHL chief operating officer. “This agreement is one way we are providing fans throughout Russia with the NHL content that they demand and the ability to follow their hometown heroes throughout their NHL careers.”

The addition of VGTRK | RTR as a broadcast partner follows a number of distribution agreements reached this season with international broadcasters throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as the landmark distribution partnership between the NHL and MTG to provide live coverage of all 1,230 regular-season games and every Stanley Cup® Playoffs game throughout the Nordic region, including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

In July of 2011, Advisers Media International (AMI) and Medge Consulting secured the international media rights for the NHL. The rights cover international markets tendered by the NHL, including Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In addition to marketing the NHL’s media rights, AMI and Medge have also been appointed to develop the international brand and profile of the NHL and develop and market new events.

VERSUS Numbers From Last Week

November 21
7:00
NY Islanders vs. Pittsburgh 198,000

November 22
7:30
Los Angeles vs. St. Louis 245,000

(Source: John Ourand)

Local Ratings For Thanksgiving Showdown

Detroit (WDIV): 5.3/13
Boston (WHDH): 5.9/17

Local Ratings for last year’s Red Wings-Bruins NBC game

Boston (WHDH): 2.1/6
Detroit (WDIV):
7.3/16

Handicapping NBC’s Flex Schedule As We Head a Little Closer to New Year’s

I figure why not have a little fun and see if any predictions from the beginning of the season have changed. My picks are in bold. Everyone can make their guesses in the comments.

January 2
1:00
NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia*

January 14
12:30
Chicago vs. Detroit*

January 22
12:30
Boston vs. Philadelphia OR Washington vs. Pittsburgh

February 12
12:30
Washington vs. NY Rangers OR Philadelphia vs. Detroit

February 19 (Hockey Day in America)
12:30
San Jose vs. Detroit*
12:30 Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo*
12:30 St. Louis vs. Chicago*
3:30 Boston vs. Minnesota

March 4
12:30
Boston vs. NY Rangers OR Philadelphia vs. Washington

March 11
1:00
Los Angeles vs. Chicago OR Boston vs. Pittsburgh

March 18
12:30 Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh
OR Washington vs. Chicago

Apr. 1
12:30 Boston vs. NY Rangers
OR Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh

Apr. 7
12:30
Buffalo vs. Boston OR Washington vs. NY Rangers OR Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh OR Chicago vs. Detroit

* – Non-Flex

Your NHL National TV Schedule For the Week of November 28

Monday, November 28

Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS/TSN2
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Tuesday, November 29

Pittsburgh vs. NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS/TSN2
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Nashville vs. Calgary, 9:30 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Mike Johnson

Wednesday, November 30

Boston vs. Toronto, 7:00 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

Tampa Bay vs. Detroit, 7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS/TSN2
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Minnesota vs. Edmonton, 9:30 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Mike Johnson

Thursday, December 1

Pittsburgh vs. Washington, 7:00 p.m. ET, NHL Network

Friday, December 2

Detroit vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network

Saturday, December 3

Montreal vs. Los Angeles, 3:00 p.m. ET, CBC/NHL Network
Play by Play:
Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Reporter:
Cassie Campbell

Toronto vs. Boston, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC/NHL Network
Play by Play:
Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Andi Petrillo

Ottawa vs. Washington, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Dean Brown
Color: Greg Millen

New Jersey vs. Winnipeg, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Rick Ball
Color: Kevin Weekes
Reporter: Mitch Peacock

Calgary vs. Edmonton, 10:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
Mark Lee
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Reporter: Scott Oake

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