Stanley Cup Final Schedule

Game 1 SAT @ CHI 8ET on NBC

Game 2 MON @ CHI 8ET on NBC

Game 3 6/2 @ PHI 7:30ET Versus

Game 4 6/4 @ PHI 7:30ET Versus

*Game 5 6/6 @ CHI 8ET on NBC

*Game 6 6/9 @ PHI 8ET on NBC

*Game 7 6/11 @ CHI 8ET on NBC

I paused my DVR to swipe this from Versus.

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 36 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Montreal vs. Philadelphia, Game 5 (PHI Leads 3-1), 7:00 PM ET

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: Joe Beninati
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Reporter: Charissa Thompson

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

NHL’s Mojo on TV Continues Rising

NEW YORK (May 24, 2010) – NBC Sports’ coverage of yesterday’s decisive Game 4 between the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, earned a 2.0 overnight rating and a 5 share, a 33 percent increase over last year (Detroit/Chicago, 1.5/4), as Chicago advanced to its first Stanley Cup Final in 18 years by completing a sweep of San Jose. Hockey-mad Chicago delivered a 14.1/32.

Saturday’s Philadelphia Flyers/Montreal Canadiens Game 4 earned a healthy 1.6/4 (no comparison in 2009). The Philadelphia market delivered a 12.0/27. Both games won every half hour against competition from the other networks.

Top Five NHL Markets of Weekend:

1. Chicago – 14.1 (Sunday)

2. Philadelphia- 12.0 (Saturday)

T3. San Jose – 4.4 (Sunday)

T3. Buffalo – 4.4 (Sunday)

4. Buffalo – 4.2 (Saturday)

5. Pittsburgh – 3.6 (Saturday)

Top Five Non-NHL Markets of Weekend:

1. San Diego – 2.8 (Sunday)

2. Sacramento – 2.5 (Sunday)

3. Richmond – 2.2 (Sunday)

4. San Diego – 2.0 (Saturday)

T5. Indianapolis -1.9 (Sunday)

T5. Las Vegas – 1.9 (Sunday)

FIRST TWO ROUNDS ON VERSUS MOST-WATCHED IN HISTORY

VERSUS’ coverage of the first two rounds of 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the most-watched first two rounds on cable on record with an average of 775,000 viewers for the 54 telecasts (Stanley Cup Playoff cable viewership became available by Nielsen for the 1994 playoffs).

The 1.0 HH rating and average viewership (1.041 million) for the second round were up 25 percent and 28 percent, respectively, over last year’s Conference Semifinal (.8 HH rating and 816,000 viewers). Throughout the duration of the Conference Semifinal, VERSUS ranked as a top 10 cable network in primetime viewership (8-11 p.m.) among Adults 18-49 and 25-54 and was one of the top five most-watched cable networks among Men 18-49 and 25-54.

NBC and VERSUS have combined for the most-watched first two rounds since 1997 (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2).

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 40 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 148 percent over last year

· Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 31 percent

· Page views are up 50 percent

· Mobile page views are up 183 percent

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

· NHL.com ranked as the number two site in terms of percentage change in unique visitors from March to April according to comScore (see chart below).

comScore’s Top 10 Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors (U.S.)

April 2010 vs. March 2010

1. MLB.COM – 67%

2. NHL.com Network – 35%

3. Buzzle.com – 19%

4. chachha.com – 16%

5. The Mozilla Organization – 15%

6. The Home Depot, Inc. – 12%

T7. Vevo – 11%

T7. Ford Motor Company – 11%

T7. Examiner.com Sites – 11%

T7. Conduit.com – 11%

TV MILESTONES IN THE 2010 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

· Game 1 of the Blackhawks-Sharks series on NBC earned an 11.2 rating in Chicago, beating the Cubs, White Sox and Boston-Orlando broadcasts combined.

· The Flyers Game 7 victory over the Bruins was the most watched Flyers game in Comcast SportsNet history with an 11.7 rating and 345,000 households, topping the previous record set two days earlier.

· CBC’s coverage of Game 7 between the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins drew an average audience of 4.24 million viewers, ranking as the sixth largest Stanley Cup Playoff audience in CBC history.

· On French language RDS, the Canadiens-Penguins Game 7 was the most-viewed NHL telecast in the network’s history with 2.69 million viewers.

· The game also scored on FSN Pittsburgh averaging a 26.4 HH rating, the highest-rated game ever on the network. At one point 43 percent of all households in the Pittsburgh DMA were tuned into FSN.

· There were three major Boston-area sports events televised on May 7 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.

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, Nielsen Media Research Canada / BBM and comScore

NHL On NBC Playoff Overnights Up 14% From 2009

Now that the NHL On NBC is done until the Stanley Cup Final, it can be noted that their playoff coverage of the first three rounds drew an average overnight rating of 1.5 for the nine playoff games the network televised.  This was up 14% from last year’s eight games, which averaged a 1.3.

2010 Playoff Overnights on NBC
4/17/10 – BOS vs. BUF, Game 2:
1.2
4/18/10 – PHX vs. DET, Game 3: 1.5
4/24/10 – NSH vs. CHI, Game 5: 1.3
4/25/10 – PHX vs. DET, Game 6: 1.3
5/1/10 – PHI vs. BOS, Game 1: 1.6
5/2/10 – MTL vs. PIT, Game 2: 1.6
5/16/10 – CHI vs. SJ, Game 1: 1.7
5/22/10 – PHI vs. MTL, Game 4: 1.6
5/23/10 – SJ vs. CHI, Game 4: 2.0
Nine Game Average: 1.5

2009 Playoff Overnights on NBC
4/18/09 – NYR vs. WSH, Game 2: 1.0
4/19/09 – PIT vs. PHI, Game 3: 1.7
4/25/09 – PIT vs. PHI, Game 6: 1.2
4/26/09 – WSH vs. NYR, Game 6: 1.0
5/2/09 – PIT vs. WSH, Game 1: 1.4
5/3/09 – ANA vs. DET, Game 2: 1.3
5/17/10 – CHI vs. DET, Game 1: 2.0
5/24/10 – DET vs. CHI, Game 4: 1.5
Average: 1.3

Chicago Local Ratings For Stanley Cup Playoff Run

(NOTE: Game 1 of Round 2, and Games 3 and 4 of Round 1 are unavailable at this time)

Round 3
Game 1 (NBC) –
11.2
Game 2 (VERSUS) – 10.9
Game 3 (VERSUS) – 11.5
Game 4 (NBC) – 14.1

Round 2
Game 1
Game 2 (CSN Chicago) – 8.3
Game 3 (CSN Chicago) – 10.1
Game 4 (VERSUS) – 8.8
Game 5 (CSN Chicago) – 9.4
Game 6 (CSN Chicago) – 9.9

Round 1
Game 6 (CSN Chicago) –
9.2
Game 5 (NBC) – 7.8
Game 2 (CSN Chicago) – 5.9
Game 1 (CSN Chicago) – 4.5  

NBC Draws 2.0 For Hawks Clincher; Flyers Game 4 Win Solid As Well

The NHL slayed much of the competition this weekend.

NBC Sports told Puck the Media that the Blackhawks Game 4 win over the San Jose Sharks drew a 2.0 overnight rating for the network’s Sunday broadcast.  The telecast was up 33% from the comparable game last season (DET/CHI Game 4, 1.5).  It is the highest-rated hockey game – aside from the Winter Classic – on American Television this season, and the best number an indoor NHL game has drawn since Game 1 of last year’s Conference Final (CHI/DET), which also drew a 2.0.  The game averaged a whopping 14.1/32 in Chicago, meaning nearly 1 in 3 TV sets that were on in Chi-town had the Hawks on.  The game is also up from last Sunday’s 1.7 rating for Game 1.  The game totaled a less impressive 4.4 in the Bay Area.

While certainly a lower number, NBC’s 1.6 rating for Saturday’s Philadelphia/Montreal telecast is nothing to look down upon, considering it featured a Canadian team, and Canadian audiences do not factor into American ratings.  It equals the 1.6 the previous Montreal telecast scored on the network against Pittsburgh in Round 2.  There was no comparable game last year.  The game drew a 12.0/27 in Philly for the Flyer win.

Most importantly, the NHL can consider itself a big winner on broadcast television this weekend.  According to Sports Business Daily (reg. rquired), aside from FOX’s Saturday night MLB telecast (3.6), the NHL had the highest ratings of anything else on a somewhat light sports Saturday, beating out (or tying) events like PGA Tournament events (1.1 and 1.6), poker (1.1), gymnastics (0.8), and – particularly satisfying – the UEFA Champions League Final (1.1), which FOX Sports head-man David Hill had been crowing would draw big numbers.  Overall, the NHL is a big winner on TV, and… when else can you say that?

Next Season Right Time For the NHL, NBC To Test Primetime Waters

Before we all go on here, I just wanted to point out one thing: How cool was that little NBC Sports “Championship Season” promo they showed during the game yesterday?  I found that to be one of the better things NBC’s done since they got the NHL deal, and it’s not even an NHL specific promo.  NBC’s doing some great, innovative little things.  That sort of brings me to the point I wanted to bring up with you all this morning.

As many of you know, to make room for UEFA Champions League final (and to test it’s feasibility for a more permanent move next year), FOX Saturday Baseball took it’s afternoon package of regional telecasts to primetime.  It did pretty okay.  Won the night among Adults 18-49, drew 4.5 million viewers to the game (without counting west coast markets) and will likely be the 1st or 2nd highest rated baseball broadcast of the season, depending on what FOX is able to muster up when they try this again in June.

So it means that MLB, the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, NCAA football and MLS have all gotten a Saturday night primetime slot for a special, non-championship event.  That doesn’t even add in the US Open women’s final, PGA majors, NCAA Tournament action and Scripps’ National Spelling Bee’s that have gotten their turn to try and carve out a niche on a Saturday night.  It’s television least-watched evening, there hasn’t been regularly scheduled scripted programming since 2003.

So… why not hockey?

If regular season baseball can throw out four regionalized games and draw 4.5-5 million… why can’t, say, a split regional telecast of the San Jose/Detroit and Philadelphia/Boston series, or a split regional telecast of last year’s Pittsburgh/Washington and Anaheim/Detroit series, earn a respectable (for Saturdays) 3.5-4 million?  It’s feasible, in my opinion.  If Saturday and Sunday afternoon hockey on network television is capable of drawing 2 million viewers, the move to primetime on Saturday could easily double that.  At very worst, it’d win the night in Adults 18-49, something NBC cares about as much as any network, and something the Stanley Cup Final did five nights in 2009.

I’m sure there are many who will disagree with that statement, and many who will flat-out call me wrong for this next one: why not try this on, say, the Saturday night in between the NFL Conference Championships and the Super Bowl:

  • 8PM: NY Rangers vs. New Jersey
  • 8PM: Detroit vs. Chicago
  • 8PM: Pittsburgh vs. Washington
  • 11PM: Colorado vs. Los Angeles (West Coast Only)

Just do what FOX does, essentially: take a regional announcer from each team to call it, and throw Emrick/Olczyk/McGuire at the best game.  Or re-hire the two other teams the network used to call regional games in 2006 and 2007.  This can be done without costing too much.  It isn’t like NBC is losing money on the NHL regardless.

Some might find it annoying that this would replace an All-Star Game in the NHL’s yearly, non-Olympic timeline.  Well I argue: who cares?  An annual,  primetime, regular season showcase for the National Hockey League is as important – if not moreso – than an All-Star Game.  Heck, one of the highest-rated hockey games of all time is the 1996 All-Star Game in Boston on FOX.  When did that game air?  Oh yeah, Saturday night.  Sure, it had FOXtrax premiere buzz behind it, but it was an event, and it was good for the league.

Here’s what NBC aired, and their overnight ratings, for the last four weeks of primetime Saturday night programming:

  • 5/22/10: 8PM – Parenthood (R) 2.06 million viewers, 0.5 A18-49.  9PM – Law & Order (R) 4.03 million viewers, 0.8 A18-49.  10PM – Law & Order: SVU (R) 4.56 million viewers, 1.1 A18-49
  • 5/15/10: 8PM – Parenthood (R) 2.06 million viewers, 0.5 A18-49.  9PM – Law & Order (R) 3.73 million viewers, 0.8 A18-49.  10PM – Law & Order: SVU (R) 4.86 million viewers, 1.2 A18-49
  • 5/8/10: 8PM – Parenthood (R) 2.10 million viewers, 0.6 A18-49.  9PM – Law & Order (R) 3.92 million viewers, 0.8 A18-49.  10PM – Law & Order: SVU (R) 5.67 million viewers, 1.3 A18-49
  • 5/1/10: 8PM – Parenthood (R) 2.74 million viewers, 0.8 A18-49.  9PM – Law & Order (R) 4.39 million viewers, 1.0 A18-49.  10PM – Law & Order: SVU (R) 5.13 million viewers, 1.3 A18-49

Doesn’t anyone else think this is beatable?  I’ll eat my words if Game 1 (a likely Saturday start) of the Stanley Cup Final can’t at least outperform the 8-10PM block.  5 million for a Game 1 might be a bit much, but regardless… I think some of those numbers there are something our sport can improve on, and it needs to be given the shot to do so.

So here’s what I tell NBC: put us on 1 Saturday night in primetime.  It can be a regular season game or, better yet, the Saturday NBC typically skips NHL playoff action for a horse race.  Use the healthy thoroughbred lead-in to spur ratings for your coverage.  Make sure you have Dan Patrick or Bob Costas or Al Michaels to host it with Milbury and/or Roenick in the New York studios, and make sure to try some new things that an NHL broadcast hasn’t seen before.  Anything goes.  It’d definitely create more excitement among American fans than another boring, listless All-Star Game, and it could certainly generate as much interest as four meaningless, regionalized baseball contests in May.  The NHL and NBC need to take a chance.  Besides, what else you gonna’ show in that slot… it’s Saturday.  I got stuff to do.