Your TV Guide and Open Thread For Game 2 of the 2008, er, 2009 Stanley Cup Finals (Sorry Penguin fans)

8:00 PM ET, Pittsburgh vs. Detroit, Game 1

National TV (US): NBC (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

National TV (CANADA): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Reporters: Scott Oake & Elliotte Friedman

BREAKING: NBC Draws 4.5 Million Viewers For Game 1, Wins Weak Saturday Night of Programming

Marc Berman from Mediaweek’s Programming Insider is going to be our friend for the next couple of weeks.  NBC beat our prediction of 3.8 million by quite a bit.  The game drew an average of 4.5 million viewers, and a 1.7 in the all-important Adults 18-49 demo, winning the night for NBC.

The game won it’s time period from 8-10 PM (finished 2nd from 10-11) in total viewers and won all three hours of primetime in Adults 18-49.  The game peaked in the 9:30-10PM half-hour with 4.94 million viewers and a 1.9 in the demo.  The 8-8:30 PM half-hour hurt the ratings quite a bit, as hockey fans seem to have figured out how loaded with pre-game it is.  It only drew 3.8 million viewers and a 1.4 in the demo.

The complete half-hour breakdown is after the jump.  It’s a good start for the Stanley Cup Final when the viewership surpasses NBC’s entire average for last week’s primetime programming (4.4 Million).  

By the way, we will have more numbers later in the day.

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Your Mid-Day YouTube Compulsory: Someone at CBC Watches Too Many Coldplay Videos

Your Cast of Characters and Open Thread For Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

8:00 PM ET, Pittsburgh vs. Detroit, Game 1

National TV (US): NBC (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

National TV (CANADA): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Reporters: Scott Oake & Elliotte Friedman

Barring a Miracle, Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final will Air at 8 PM ET

The Lakers are ahead of the Nuggets, so unless something “amazing” happens, Game 2 will air at 8PM ET on NBC.

Will update at the end of the game to be sure.

Update (11:43 PM): Confirmed.  Game 2, like the rest of the series, will begin at 8:00 PM ET.

The Day-Long Tampa-area Nightmare is Over

Tom Jones again:

Hockey fans, breathe easy again. Saturday night’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals will be seen locally after all. Sun Sports, which televises Lightning games, has agreed to pick up NBC’s feed for the opening game of the series between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. The telecast will begin at 8 p.m. Sun Sports received final approval from Fox, which owns Sun Sports, as well as final clearing by the NHL on Friday afternoon.

NBC is showing the game nationally, but the local NBC affiliate, WFLA-Ch. 8, could not show the game because it is broadcasting its 26th annual All Children’s Hospital Telethon. It appeared the game would not seen because the league could not find an alternate station to pick up the game. That’s when the Lightning stepped in. Working feverishly behind the scenes for the past 24 hours, Lightning officials, in conjunction with the NHL, contacted Sun Sports and helped negotiate the deal to assure the Tampa Bay market would not be shut out of the game.

So that’s all done.  We’ll see you all tomorrow with picks and likely some more stuff about the Final.  See you then!

VERSUS Hypes Game 3 & 4 Coverage

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 29, 2009)-VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will air exclusive coverage of Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday, June 2, and Thursday, June 4, when the Eastern Conference Champion Pittsburgh Penguins host the Western Conference Champion Detroit Red Wings in the highly anticipated re-match of last year’s Final.  VERSUS’ coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET both nights with special presentations of the network’s studio show “Hockey Central,” live from Mellon Arena.  Both Stanley Cup Final games will be produced and shown in HD where available.  

The network’s coverage of the 2009 Conference Final round averaged a 1.5 HH rating, making it the highest-rated third round on cable since 1998.  VERSUS, which aired seven exclusive games in the series, posted significant increases in HH ratings (up 25%, 1.5 vs. 1.2), average viewership (up 30%, 1,724,641 vs. 1,321,868) and viewership among key male demos, Men 18-49 (up 19%) and Men 25-54 (up 39%) as compared to last year’s Conference Finals.  The third-round growth comes on the heels of VERSUS airing the highest-rated Conference Semifinals on cable since 1997 and seeing 32-percent viewership growth in that round, 22-percent viewership growth in the Conference Quarterfinals and a 21-percent increase in viewership during the regular season.  
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NBC Hypes Game 1 & 2 Coverage

NEW YORK – May 28, 2009 – In the first Stanley Cup Final rematch in 25 years, Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh Penguins seek to dethrone the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, who defeated the Penguins in six games last year. NBC Sports, the network home of the National Hockey League, will broadcast up to five games in the series, all in primetime, beginning with Game 1 Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET (see complete schedule below). 

Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass analyst) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty in the on-location studio show alongside Mike Milbury and former NHL netminder Darren Pang. NBC Sports’ coverage is produced by Sam Flood, the architect of the “Inside the Glass” analyst position. 

In addition to Crosby, the matchup features some of the NHL’s greats, including Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal against Detroit’s Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom. Hossa skated for Pittsburgh against Detroit last year. Detroit has won 11 Stanley Cup championships in their long history as an NHL “Original Six” franchise and the Penguins, two (1991 & 92). Twenty-one current Red Wings players (total of 40 times) have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup compared with just five for the Penguins. 
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Ratings Predictions For a Rematch

This is likely one of the most difficult Stanley Cup Finals to predict ratings-wise since the lockout at least.  On one hand, the NHL is putting Games 1 & 2 of the Finals on network TV for the first time in decades (While Game 1 has aired on National TV, Game 2 hasn’t in ages) while Games 3 & 4 are on cable.  However, the NHL is seeing record ratings over at VERSUS, and its’ most successful post-season since 1997, ratings-wise.  

The NHL has as made-for-TV a matchup as you can get, featuring two teams that drew the highest average ratings for a Stanley Cup Final since 2002, and who’s Game 6 last year drew the highest single-game NHL rating since 2003.  However, the NHL has been squeezed into a somewhat unfavorable schedule with its’ network partner NBC, which has Game 1 airing on the low-rated Saturday and Game 7 airing on the slightly-less low-rated Friday.

We’re going to ignore the NBA stuff, because it’s pretty clear that the fanbases don’t overlap much.  Wings-Hawks drew 2.3 million on VERSUS Wednesday while Game 5 of the Lakers-Nuggets series drew 9.9 million on ESPN.  The NHL is going to draw what it is going to draw, and the NBA isn’t really a factor into that equation.  However, a Magic-Nuggets Final would be really helpful for the league, buzz-wise.

So with that all said, let’s go game by game and predict what the ratings will be for the Stanley Cup Finals

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NBC in Tampa Continues to Think Helping Sick Kids More Important Than Stanley Cup Finals

This from Tom Jones (isn’t that unusual?) of the 2 Cents blog on

As of right now, local hockey fans will not be able to watch Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final Saturday night.

The game between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins is being shown nationally at 8 p.m. on NBC, but Ch. 8, the local NBC affiliate, will not carry the game because of its 26th annual All Children’s Hospital Telethon, which runs from 8:30 Saturday night until 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

The only hope left is the NHL farms out the rights to NBC’s broadcast to another local station, but as of now, no deals have been struck and it’s not known if the NHL is negotiating with another station.

This happened last season, too, when Game 3 of the Cup final was pre-empted because of the telethon. Bright House Networks showed the game on what was then called Catch 47 (now Bright House Sports Network), but non-Bright House subscribers did not see the game.

Where do these people get off with their idea that these children are more important than a hockey game?  It’s ridiculous really.  But, on a serious note, you just have to hope that in Tampa they find another station to put the game on.