Dan Patrick Absent, Ryan Miller Present For Opening of the Stanley Cup Final on NBC

NEW YORK – May 27, 2010 – The 2010 Stanley Cup Final begins this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports when the Chicago Blackhawks, champions of the Western Conference, host the Philadelphia Flyers, champions of the Eastern Conference, at United Center.

Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), who will call his 12th Stanley Cup Final, Eddie Olczyk (analyst), and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury and Olympic MVP and Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who will serve as a guest analyst for Game 1. Analyst Jeremy Roenick will join McGuire and Milbury for the remainder of the series beginning with Game 2.

SCHEDULE: NBC Sports’ coverage of the Stanley Cup Final continues with Game 2 from United Center on Monday, May 31 at 8 p.m. ET. Games 3 and 4 will be played at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center and will air on VERSUS Wednesday, June 2 and Friday, June 4, respectively. NBC Sports resumes coverage for Games 5-7, if necessary. Following is the Stanley Cup Final television schedule (all times ET):

Game 1 Sat. May 29 NBC 8 p.m.Game 2 Mon. May 31 NBC 8 p.m.Game 3 Wed. June 2 VERSUS 8 p.m.Game 4 Fri. June 4 VERSUS 8 p.m.Game 5 Sun. June 6 NBC 8 p.m.Game 6 Wed. June 9 NBC 8 p.m.Game 7 Fri. June 11 NBC 8 p.m.

VIEWERSHIP: NBC Sports is averaging 1.89 million viewers for its NHL playoff coverage, the most for broadcast TV in the U.S. through three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2002 (2.31 million on ABC) and up five percent over last year. Sunday’s game featuring the Blackhawks? series-clinching win over the San Jose Sharks averaged 2.5 million viewers, up 19 percent from last year’s comparable game (2.1 million).

STANLEY CUP HISTORY: The Blackhawks, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, are making their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1992 when they were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Chicago has not won the Stanley Cup since 1961 and their 49 years without a title is the longest active drought in the league. The Flyers, the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, are back in the Final for the first time since they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in 1997. Philadelphia has not won the Stanley Cup championship since they were repeat champs in 1974-75. Both teams have lost their last five Final appearances. The Flyers are 2-5 all time in the Final, while Chicago is 3-7.

OLYMPIANS COMPETING FOR THE CUP: Ten players on the rosters of the Blackhawks (six) and Flyers (four) competed in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Of the 10, five won gold for Canada, one claimed silver for Team USA, one earned bronze for Finland, and two competed for bronze with Slovakia but lost to Finland. One player competed for Latvia.

GOLD

CANADA

Blackhawks: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook & Jonathan Toews

Flyers: Chris Pronger & Mike Richards

SILVER

USA

Blackhawks: Patrick Kane

BRONZE

FINLAND

Flyers: Kimmo Timonen

SLOVAKIA

Blackhawks: Marian Hossa & Tomas Kopecky

LATVIA

Flyers: Oskars Bartulis

ON NBC SPORTS: Chicago is 4-2 on NBC Sports this season, including last weekend’s series-clinching Game 4 win over San Jose. Philadelphia is 2-3 on NBC Sports in 2010, including Saturday’s 3-0 win over Montreal in Game 4 of their series, which gave the Flyers a three-games-to-one lead.

NBC SPORTS’ 2010 STANLEY CUP COVERAGE BY THE NUMBERS:

1 Office Trailer

2 Net Cams

4 Production Trucks

5 Commentators

12 Number of Finals called by Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, including 2010

24 Cameras

35 Pounds (weight of Stanley Cup)

81 On-Site Personne

l15,840 Feet of Cable (approx)

NBCSPORTS.COM: ‘Star-cam’ continues for the Stanley Cup Final. ‘Star-cam’ tracks a player(s) from both teams throughout each of their shifts. Following the game, NBCSports.com will present bonus material, including ‘Star-cam’ and ‘Net-cam’ and bonus analysis from NBC Sports commentators.

CONFERENCE CALL: The NHL today conducted a media conference call with, among others, Emrick, McGuire and Milbury to preview the Final. Highlights follow:

MCGUIRE ON THE MATCHUP: This is going to be a whole lot of nasty. It’s going to be great hockey. It’s everything you want. You’ve got two sizzling cauldrons here in Chicago and back in Philadelphia. It’s going to be a ton of fun to watch.

MILBURY ON THE MATCHUP: (Chicago is) a quick, puck-moving group in contrast with a bigger, stronger Philadelphia group. They match up pretty well. It’s going to be a longer series, more than people realize.

EMRICK ON PHILADELPHIA: The fact that they could rally and still be able to have some skin left on their teeth by the time they got through the last game is a real achievement.

EMRICK ON CHICAGO?S ORGANIZATION: This team is very progressive in terms of getting out there, showing the quality products that it has. When you start winning games and start having 100-point seasons like they have in the past two years, that shows they are really tremendous.

MCGUIRE ON PHILADEPHIA?S MIKE RICHARDS: He’s the ultimate leader.

MILBURY ON CHICAGO: The one fact that’s in the favor of Chicago is their team speed. It was outstanding throughout the playoffs.

MCGUIRE ON PHILADELPHIA’S DANNY BRIERE: This playoff season, he’s been phenomenal. He’s been a major reason why — a lot like Mike Richards — they’ve been able to survive.

MCGUIRE: Jonathan Toews is a no-nonsense kind of leader.

EMRICK ON TOEWS: There’s no panic in his game whatsoever. He?s a terrific player.

MCGUIRE ON DEFENSE: A big part of what allowed these goalies to prosper is the fact that both these teams have unbelievable defensemen in front of them.

Through Three Rounds, NHL’s Doing Alright

NEW YORK (May 27, 2010) – With U.S. television viewership at its highest level in eight years, with attendance soaring beyond 103% of capacity, with digital platforms showing explosive growth and with merchandise sales up significantly, the National Hockey League enters the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks (No. 3 U.S. media market) and the Philadelphia Flyers (No. 4 market) riding a wave of positive momentum in all areas of the business. Consider these highlights:

TELEVISION

  • NBC’s 1.89 million average viewer figure is the most for national broadcast TV in the U.S. through three rounds since 2002 (2.31 million on ABC) and up five percent over last year
  • VERSUS’ 0.9 household rating is their highest three round NHL playoff rating ever and up 29 percent over last year
  • NBC/VERSUS combined three-round average Men 25-54 viewer figure (432,000) is the most since 2000 (471,000 on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2)
  • The NHL Playoffs on CBC are averaging 1.95 million viewers, a 70 percent increase over last year (1.5 million)
  • The NHL Playoffs on RDS are averaging 765,000 viewers, up 106 percent over last year (372,000 viewers)
  • The NHL Playoffs on TSN averaged 1.1 million viewers, gaining 70 percent over last year (645,000 viewers)

ATTENDANCE

  • During the playoffs teams have played to 102 percent of capacity and, for the first time ever, average playoff attendance will surpass the 19,000 mark (Note: that milestone will be reached at Game 1 of the Final in Chicago)

MERCHANDISE SALES

  • NHL Powered by Reebok Store sales from April 1-May 26 are up 15 percent year over year
  • Shop.NHL.com playoff sales have shown a  31 percent increase over last year
  • In the four Conference Final venues, per capita sales were up 45 percent vs. 2009 and showed a 52 percent total sales increase (equal number of games played). This year’s average per capita sales in Conference Final markets was the highest in 10 years.
  • Total in-venue playoff merchandise sales are up 10.4 percent from last year

DIGITAL PLATFORMS

  • For the first 42 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 151 percent over last year
  • Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 31 percent
  • Page views are up 51 percent
  • Mobile page views are up 185 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.

TV MILESTONES IN THE 2010 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

  • 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)
  • NBC and VERSUS have combined for the most-watched first two rounds since 1997 (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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 In-House Coverage of the Final

CHICAGO (May 27, 2010) — The National Hockey League today announced its plans for all-access coverage of the NHL’s 2010 Stanley Cup Final between the Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks and Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers. The final series, scheduled to start in Chicago on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC, RDS), will feature two teams who are meeting in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their storied histories.

NHL Network™, NHL.com, and NHL Radio™ will launch their coverage today, Thursday, May 27, at NHL Media Day. The NHL’s coverage, a multi-platformed connection for fans to all of the news and information for the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, will provide pre- and post-game reports, expert analysis, feature interviews and exclusive video.

Hosted by On The Fly’s Brian Duff, and streamed live on NHL.com, NHL Network will carry special programming from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. ET today for NHL Media Day. A line-up of hockey experts, including OTF regular and former NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes and NHL International broadcast duo Joe Micheletti and Dave Strader will join the panel with up-to-the-minute NHL news, roster changes and predictions. The show will telecast interviews with top players on both teams and the pre-series news conferences with team management and coaches.

NHL Network will host a one-hour pre-game show at 6:00 p.m. ET and as fans stream into the arena on game days, the Network’s pre-game coverage will emanate live from the arena bowl. The post-game show will follow immediately after the game’s conclusion. The Network’s U.S. and Canadian channels will also broadcast a special one-hour show on off-days at 8:00 p.m. ET which will be streamed live on NHL.com.

On Friday, May 28, NHL Network will carry NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s annual news conference at the Final at 2:00 p.m. ET. It is expected that the Commissioner will unveil a schedule of signature events for the 2010-11 NHL season. The news conference will also be streamed live on NHL.com.

NHL.com will provide extensive daily coverage of the Stanley Cup Final beginning with a team of writers and analysts reporting live from NHL Media Day. The BlackBerry All-Access Pregame Show, hosted by Deb Placey on game days will originate from the host cities and will include special footage from team locker rooms, exclusive interviews with prominent alumni, and behind-the-scenes video.

NHL Live! ™, the NHL’s daily radio show — broadcast live on Sirius XM Radio, streamed on NHL.com and simulcast on NHL Network — will break down each Stanley Cup Final game in its regular time slot, Monday through Friday from noon – 2 p.m. ET. Show host Don La Greca and hockey experts EJ Hradek, Ken Daneyko, Billy Jaffe, Dave Maloney and others will be analyzing each game and getting reactions from fans around North America.

NHL Live! ™ will drop the puck on the Stanley Cup Final today with a full show preceding NHL Media Day coverage on NHL Network and NHL.com. NHL Radio insider Mike Milbury (NBC) and Scott Morrison from the CBC will be among show guests that give fans an inside look at what to expect when the last two NHL teams still standing clash in Game One Saturday. Also on tomorrow’s show, host Rob Simpson and EJ Hradek will speak with 2010 Selke Trophy finalist Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks; Norris Trophy finalist Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings; Central Scouting’s number one ranked player for this summer’s Entry Draft, Tyler Seguin, from the Plymouth Whalers and last year’s first-overall pick, John Tavares of the New York Islanders.

Also tomorrow, in its regular weekly time slot (6 p.m. – 7 p.m. ET), NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman, will feature interviews with the authors of the 2010 Stanley Cup finalists stories — Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider and Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz. The show, which encourages fans to call in with questions for the Commissioner, will originate from New York City.

NHL To Play On NHL Players Inarticulate Nature

From Terry Lefton of Sports Business Daily:

The inability of NHL players to articulate their boundless joy after fulfilling a lifelong dream to win a championship is the subject of a spot that will debut on NBC’s telecast of Stanley Cup Final Game One Saturday. “No Words” is the latest ad in the “History Will Be Made” playoff campaign from Y&R and the NHL, which started with one replaying Bobby Orr aloft and perpendicular to the ice after scoring the Cup-winning goal in ’70 played in reverse slow motion. Around 50 spots following that format have been produced since then by the league, but the number of tribute ads produced by fans is staggering.

Snider, Wirtz on the NHL Hour

NEW YORK (May 27, 2010) – And then there were two. The 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final will feature two teams that are meeting in the Final series for the first time in their storied histories. Team owners, Rocky Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ed Snider of the Philadelphia Flyers will be today’s guests on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET.

The 2010 Stanley Cup Final between the NHL’s two remaining teams, the Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks and Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers will start in Chicago on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC, RDS).

Since Rocky Wirtz assumed control of the club in 2007-08, he has rejuvenated and revitalized the Blackhawks and has restored “the Roar” from the glory days of the “Original Six” franchise.

Ed Snider brought NHL hockey to Philadelphia as founder of the Flyers, who debuted in 1967-68. The team captured back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975. Snider was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Builder in 1988.

NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman broadcasts live on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 204 and on SIRIUS Channel 208 as part of the “Best of XM” programming package) and NHL.com. The show will re-air on SIRIUS XM Radio, with archived shows available for download via podcast on NHL.com.

The show encourages fans to call in with questions. To submit questions to NHL Hour call 1-877-645-6696. NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman is a production of NHL Radio.

Media Day to Be Broadcast on NHL Net This Afternoon

Tune in to the NHL Network in the U.S. and Canada starting at 2 p.m. ET Thursday for full coverage of Stanley Cup Final Media Day from Chicago. Broadcasters Brian Duff, Kevin Weekes, Joe Micheletti and Dave Strader will bring you live press conferences and interviews from United Center as we countdown to Game 1 between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday.

Hawks Allowed Precedence Over Cubs on Radio For Final

Chicago, IL (May 25, 2010) — WGN Radio today announced that the station will air all of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals games that would normally conflict with Chicago Cubs broadcasts. The conflicting Cubs games will be heard on 560 AM on June 2, June 4 and possibly June 9 (if game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals is necessary).

“Allowing all Stanley Cup Final games to air on WGN Radio 720 is another example of our great longtime partnership with the Cubs organization,” said Tom Langmyer, Vice President/General Manager of WGN Radio. “We deeply appreciate the Cubs’ community leadership in cheering on the Blackhawks during their historic Stanley Cup Finals run. We also are pleased to present the WGN broadcast of the Chicago Cubs on our companion station, 560 AM.”