REPORT: NBC Will Air Western Conference Final Game 1 or 2 on Sunday

From James O’Brien of the NBC-backed Pro Hockey Talk:

Whether the Boston-Philadelphia series goes to a Game 7 or not, NBC will cover a San Jose-Chicago game in San Jose on Sunday, May 16 at 3 PM ET. Word is that it will be a Game 1 if the Flyers win or a Game 2 if the Bruins close it out tonight.

This should quell most of the rumors about Montreal getting the NBC Game 1.  We’ll all see, though.


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Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 29 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs

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

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Darren Eliot
Reporter: Charissa Thompson

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

Regional TV (Pittsburgh): FS Pittsburgh (HD)
Play by Play: Paul Steigerwald
Color: Bob Errey
Reporter: Dan Potash

Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 6 (BOS Leads 3-2), 8:00 PM ET

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD) JIP

National TV (Canada): TSN (HD)
Play by Play: Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Regional TV (Boston): NESN (HD)
Play by Play: Jack Edwards
Color: Andy Brickley
Reporter: Naoko Funayama

Regional TV (Philadelphia): CSN Philadelphia (HD)
Play by Play: Jim Jackson
Color: Bill Clement
Reporter: Steve Coates

NHL Continues Major Ratings/Traffic Upswing

NOTE: Announcer Thread moving to 5:30 to give this a little time to breathe.

NHL SEEING SUBSTANTIAL GAINS IN ALL AREAS OF BUSINESS DURING PLAYOFFS

“As far as perspiration-based entertainment goes, it’s pretty hard to top what the National Hockey League has offered up this spring.” – Toronto Star

“The National Hockey League is a big-time deal again… people are definitely talking about, and more importantly, watching, the NHL again.” – AOL Fanhouse

NEW YORK (May 12, 2010) – “As far as perspiration-based entertainment goes, it’s pretty hard to top what the National Hockey League has offered up this spring,” says the Toronto Star. And Milton Kent of AOL Fanhouse adds, “the National Hockey League is a big-time deal again… people are definitely talking about, and more importantly, watching, the NHL again.”

As the Eastern Conference Semifinals near their conclusion with Game 6 and Game 7 tonight, the compelling action on the ice is helping to fuel substantial business success off the ice. All North American TV partners are showing strong increases in viewership, the NHL’s digital platforms are experiencing explosive growth, and attendance is averaging above capacity.

“Against the backdrop of terrific competition, our strategy to activate NHL fans through big events like the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and across traditional and digital media, is delivering tremendous business results,” said NHL COO John Collins. “The demand for NHL hockey has never been greater, and serving fans on multiple platforms is highlighting the true audience for our game.”

TV MILESTONES IN THE 2010 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

  • There were three major Boston-area sports events televised on Friday night, and Game 4 of the Bruins-Flyers series scored the best numbers, earning an 8.3 local Nielsen rating (328,000 viewers) on Versus in the Boston metered market besting the Yankees-Red Sox matchup on NESN, which earned a 6.3 local rating (223,000 viewers) to finish in second, while Game Three of the Cavaliers-Celtics NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals earned a 4.1 local rating (142,000 viewers) on ESPN.
  • On Thursday April 22, the Blackhawks, with 278,000 viewers in Chicago, prevailed over some tough local competition: Bulls (255,000 viewers, playoff game against Cleveland and LeBron James), NFL Draft (138,000) and the Chicago Cubs vs. NY Mets (137,000 viewers).
  • Combined, NBC and VERSUS averaged 742,000 viewers per telecast, the most for the first round since ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 averaged 750,000 viewers in 2000 and a 24-percent increase over last year.
  • 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).
  • Game 2 of the Detroit/San Jose series averaged 1.772 million viewers, making it VERSUS’ most-watched Conference Semifinal game in network history and the most-watched second-round game on cable in a decade (Colorado/Detroit, May 1, 2000 on ESPN, 1.926 million).
  • The Washington-Montreal Game 7 was the highest rated (1.2 HH rating) and most watched (1.2 million viewers) Conference Quarterfinal game ever on VERSUS, and the most watched Conference Quarterfinal 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 round) with an average audience of 1.8 million viewers over seven games.

VERSUS GROWS SECOND-ROUND VIEWERSHIP BY MORE THAN 30%

Through Monday night’s games VERSUS’ Conference Semifinal round coverage has averaged a 1.0 HH rating and 1.055 million viewers, which is up 25 percent and 31 percent, respectively, as compared the same time period last year (.8 HH rating and 806,000 viewers).

NHL ON NBC VIEWERSHIP UP 4%

NBC Sports’  six playoff broadcasts are averaging 1.71 million viewers, up four percent compared to 2009 (1.64 million).

TSN VIEWERSHIP UP 82%

Through 33 telecasts, TSN has averaged 1.07 million viewers, 92 percent higher than its average audience to date last year (587,000 viewers).

CBC VIEWERSHIP UP 58%

Through its first 35 telecasts of the playoffs, CBC has averaged 1.77 million viewers, a 58 percent increase over last year (1.1 million viewers).

NHL ON RDS UP 82%

Through its first 48 telecasts, RDS has averaged 650,000 viewers, up 82 percent over last year (357,000).

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:

  • For the first 28 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 143 percent last year
  • Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 31 percent
  • Page views on NHL.com are up 49 percent
  • Mobile page views are up 189 percent
  • April was the most trafficked month in the history of NHL.com in terms of unique visitors surpassing 17 million

FULL HOUSES

The NHL has played to more than 100 percent capacity during these playoffs.

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

Source: Nielsen Media Research US and Nielsen Media Research Canada / BBM

NHL Net Promotes Memorial Cup Coverage

NEW YORK (May 12, 2010) – For the third consecutive year, NHL Network U.S. will showcase the best teams in Canadian major junior hockey as they compete for a national championship title at the Memorial Cup tournament.  Fans will have the opportunity to see NHL up-and-coming stars and 2010 Draft picks as they take to the ice at the Canadian Hockey League’s pinnacle tournament.

After a grueling two months of playoff hockey in their respective leagues, four CHL teams will meet in Brandon, Manitoba, from May 14-23 to crown a Memorial Cup winner.  The tournament features the Western Hockey League (WHL) champion Calgary Hitmen, Ontario Hockey League (OHL) championWindsor Spitfires and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) champion Moncton Wildcats, plus the host team Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL).

As well as carrying a special preview show on Friday, May 14, at 7:00 p.m., NHL Network U.S. will air Rogers Sportsnet’s coverage of all tournament games with the broadcast team of play-by-play man Peter Loubardias, analyst Sam Cosentino and host Rob Faulds. All games will be broadcast in high definition.

The OHL champion and defending Memorial Cup titlist Windsor Spitfires — with NHL Central Scouting’s No. 2-ranked player, Taylor Hall, and No. 5-ranked Cam Fowler — will open the tournament against host Brandon, on Friday, May 14, at 8 p.m. ET.  The Wheat Kings’ roster includes two top-10 picks from last summer’s Entry Draft — Brayden Schenn (Los Angeles, fifth overall) andScott Glennie (Dallas, eighth overall).

Day two coverage will feature the Calgary Hitmen, led by 2009 draft pick Brandon Kozun (Los Angeles, 179th overall), taking on the Moncton Wildcats and No. 6-ranked Brandon Gormley in a Saturday afternoon contest beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

NHL Network U.S. will also carry Rogers Sportsnet’s championship preview show at 2:30 p.m. ET prior to the game on Sunday, May 23.

The Memorial Cup tournament features a number of recent NHL draft picks and NHL Central Scouting ranked players.

Brandon Wheat Kings
Matt Calvert                 (CBJ – 127th overall in 2008)
Jacob DeSerres                (PHI – 84th overall in 2008)
Scott Glennie                 (DAL – 8th overall in 2009)
Travis Hamonic                 (NYI – 53rd overall in 2008)
Toni Rajala                (EDM – 101st overall in 209)
Colby Robak                 (FLA – 46th overall in 2008)
Brayden Schenn         (LA – 5th overall in 2009)
Alexander Urbom         (NJ – 73rd overall in 2009)
Michael Ferland                 (2010 eligible – ranked No. 146)
Mark Stone                 (2010 eligible – ranked No. 119)

Calgary Hitmen
Joel Broda                 (WSH – 144th overall in 2008)
Jimmy Bubnick                 (ATL – 155th overall in 2009)
Kris Foucault                 (MIN – 103rd overall in 2009)
Brandon Kozun                 (LA – 179th overall in 2009)
Ian Schultz                 (STL – 87th overall in 2008)
Tyler Shattock                (STL – 108th overall in 2009)
Michael Stone                 (PHX – 69th overall in 2008)
Matt MacKenzie         (2010 eligible – ranked No. 74)

Windsor Spitfires
Ryan Ellis                 (NSH – 11th overall in 2009)
Adam Henrique                 (NJ – 82nd overall in 2008)
Steven Johnston         (DET – 181st overall in 2008)
Zack Kassian                 (BUF – 13th overall in 2009)
Dale Mitchell                (TOR – 74th overall in 2007)
Greg Nemisz                (CGY – 25th overall in 2008)
Kenny Ryan                 (TOR – 50th overall in 2009)
Scott Timmins                 (FLA – 165th overall in 2009)
Eric Wellwood                 (PHI – 172nd overall in 2009)
Harry Young                (NJ – 202nd overall in 2008)
Taylor Hall                 (2010 eligible – ranked No. 2)
Cam Fowler                 (2010 eligible – ranked No. 5)
Phillipp Grubauer         (2010 eligible – ranked No. 15 G)
Justin Shugg                 (2010 eligible – ranked No. 53)

Moncton Wildcats
Mark Barberio                 (TB – 152nd overall in 2008)
Gabriel Bourque         (NSH – 132nd overall in 2009)
Randy Cameron         (DET – 148th overall in 2007)
Nicolas Deschamps         (ANA – 35th overall in 2009)
Nicola Riopel                 (PHI – 142nd overall in 2009)
David Savard                 (CBJ – 94th overall in 2009)
Kelsey Tessier                 (COL – 110th overall in 2008)
Brandon Gormley         (2010 eligible – ranked No. 6)

2010 Memorial Cup on NHL Network U.S. Schedule

Date        Game        Time (ET)
Friday, May 14        Memorial Cup Preview Show        7:00 p.m.
Windsor Spitfires @ Brandon Wheat Kings        8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 15        Calgary Hitmen @ Moncton Wildcats        3:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 16        Brandon Wheat Kings @ Moncton Wildcats        3:00 p.m.
Monday, May 17        Calgary Hitmen @ Windsor Spitfires        8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 18        Moncton Wildcats @ Windsor Spitfires        8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 19        Brandon Wheat Kings @ Calgary Hitmen        8:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 20        Tiebreaker (if necessary)        8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 21        Semifinal Game        8:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 23        Championship Pre-Game Show        2:30 p.m.
Championship Game        3:00 p.m.

About the Canadian Hockey League:
The Canadian Hockey League is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and five American states. The CHL is made up of the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League. Last season, more than nine million fans attended CHL games in the regular season, playoffs and at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League than any other league.  Last season 527 graduates attended Canadian Universities on scholarships from CHL teams. The Memorial Cup was donated in 1919 by the Ontario Hockey Association as a memorial to those young men and women who had been given their lives in the defence of Canada during World War I.  The 2010 edition of the tournament in Brandon will mark the 92nd time this prestigious trophy will be presented.  For more information, visit www.mastercardmemorialcup.com.

About NHL NETWORK:
As the definitive hockey destination, NHL Network offers viewers a 24-hour all-access pass to complete hockey coverage both on and off the ice, including live NHL games.  The network’s daily signature show – NHL On The Fly – offers fans exclusive live look-ins to NHL games, including goals, shootouts, features, interviews, pre- and post-game reports and expert analysis from a variety of hockey insiders and former players, plus special coverage from NHL events.  Additional programming includes simulcast of Sirius XM Radio’s “NHL Live” which broadcasts Mon-Fri from NHL Powered By Reebok, international and amateur hockey, player profiles, interview shows and youth-oriented programs.  NHL Network is available in the U.S. and Canada by contacting digital cable or satellite providers.  For more information on NHL Network, log on to nhlnetwork.com.

Wild to Go All-Cable By 2011-12?

From Mike Russo, whom I enjoy but rarely get to link to:

The Wild has reached an extension with Fox Sports North to continue to broadcast Wild games. The length of the deal is undisclosed and an announcement will come at a later date.

In a statement to my inquiry, Bill Robertson, the team’s VP of Communications and Broadcastings, said, “The Minnesota Wild have concluded negotiations with FS-North and have extended our current agreement to broadcast Wild NHL games. At the same time, the Wild will continue to work with over-the-air partner, KSTC-TV, while the new contract with FS-North has no immediate impact on the Wild’s KSTC-TV partnership.”

However, that’s immediate impact. It’s believed all Wild games will move exclusively to Fox Sports North in 2011-12.

NOTE: Shark Tank Unavailable Thursday and Saturday

As MANY a reader pointed out, so disregard all potential Saturday SJ/CHI starts.  Now you’d have to guess a Friday start if the Bruins win, and a Sunday start if the Flyers win tonight or the Bruins win in 7.

Broadcast News: Just When Will Conference Finals Start?

This is likely the last “Broadcast News” of the year.  Remember, all of this is speculation, don’t take any of this is Gospel.  We’ll likely all know everything tomorrow.

This was being discussed on XM Home Ice yesterday, but it’s the only way I can see NBC not picking up two games from a potential Pittsburgh Conference Final.  In fact, even if it does go seven, I wouldn’t be shocked if NBC lobbied for Penguins/Bruins or Penguins/Flyers.  Of course, if Montreal comes up with a win tonight, don’t be surprised if Sharks/Blackhawks gets the NBC treatment regardless.

That said, exciting stuff.  If it were to happen, it’d be the first NBC hockey telecast from the state of California since the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, and the first NBC telecast in San Jose since a Kings-Sharks game in April of 2007.  Also the first Sharks telecast on the network since the 2nd round of the ’07 playoffs when they visited the Red Wings twice on the network.  The following are just guesses… but they’re pretty good guesses.

If Pittsburgh and Boston win tonight:

Friday
Bruins/Pens Game 1

Saturday
Blackhawks/Sharks, Game 1

Sunday
Bruins/Pens, Game 2 (NBC)

If Pittsburgh/Montreal win and Philadelphia win, forcing a Game 7 Friday:

Sunday
Blackhawks/Sharks, Game 1 (NBC)