Your Announcers and Open Thread For Coyotes-Red Wings

Phoenix vs. Detroit, 7:30 PM ET
Play by Play:
Dave Strader
Color: Andy Brickley
Reporter: Bob Harwood

VERSUS To Air Game in 3D. Oh, It’s … It’s College Football? Oh, Whatever Then. Cool, I Guess

NEW YORK, N.Y. (November 8, 2010)-Saturday, November 13, marks an innovative and historic day for VERSUS as the network embarks on its first foray into the world of 3D during a college football double-header featuring two of the top three schools in the country. The opening contest, San Diego State at #3 TCU at 4 p.m. ET, will mark the first time a college football game will use VERSUS Vision, powered by 3D-4U’s iRL3D technology, which allows for that game’s highlights to be made available on http://www.VERSUS.com <http://www.versus.com/&gt; in a 180-degree, user-controlled 3D experience. Following the Mountain West Conference game, VERSUS will produce and broadcast its first ever live 3D telecast when #1 Oregon visits Cal in Berkeley at 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

“We’re thrilled that our initial entry into 3D production will feature a Pac-10 match-up with the top-ranked college football team in the country, along with new technology in the first game of the day that transforms how fans interact with game footage,” said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operations for VERSUS. “We saw this double-header as the perfect opportunity to showcase new technology and create an unbelievable viewing experience for fans.”

 

The live 3D game telecast will feature a separate production crew and equipment from the traditional HD game production. The network will have multiple 3D cameras placed strategically around the field, giving viewers camera angles not usually seen during 2D telecasts, as well as a completely different on-air announce team. Wayne Larrivee, who currently calls games for the Green Bay Packers, will handle play-by-play duties for the 3D telecast. He will be joined by former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer in the booth along with Heidi Androl reporting from the sidelines. VERSUS will also produce an HD telecast of the game with Ron Thulin serving as the play-by-play announcer along with Glenn Parker providing color commentary and Lewis Johnson reporting from the sidelines.

 

The Oregon/Cal 3D telecast will be made available live to those with 3D-capable television sets through dedicated 3D channels on affiliates across the country, including Comcast, Cox, Time Warner, and Verizon FiOS TV, among others. Check TV provider listings for specific channel numbers. VERSUS will also have a viewing area on-site at Cal’s Memorial Stadium so fans/students can check out the 3D telecast firsthand.

 

For the San Diego State/TCU game, 3D-4U and VERSUS are teaming up to give fans VERSUS Vision, a ground-breaking online experience that allows them to take control of the highlights within a complete panoramic, 180-degree field of view. Viewers can choose camera angles and specific game highlights through the magic of iRL3D technology to control the movement and direction of the image by using their computer’s mouse. This technology can be viewed in 2D HD on standard computers or on systems with 3D capabilities. For those in attendance at TCU’s Arnon G. Carter Stadium, there will be an exclusive on-site demonstration providing fans with the opportunity to experience the technology live and speak with representatives from 3D-4U about VERSUS Vision.

 

In the booth for the HD telecast of the San Diego State/TCU contest will be Ted Robinson calling the game action alongside Kelly Stouffer serving as lead analyst and Lindsay Soto reporting from the sidelines.

 

NHL To Launch Cool-Looking Facebook App

From Fred Freier of Sports Business Journal:

One week after passing the 1 million follower mark on Facebook, the NHL is launching its first interactive application for members of the social network. The application, called the BlackBerry All-Access Pregame, allows users to watch video segments from NHL.com’s popular All-Access broadband show and also lets fans rank NHL teams based on performance.

 

The application is sponsored by BlackBerry as part of a cross-channel digital deal with the league, which declined to list a value for the partnership.

 

“NHL.com has been living particularly well on Facebook. Our followers are our über-fans; they really break the mold,” said Perry Cooper, senior vice president of the NHL’s digital and direct marketing. “We knew that we have to have an [application] that was video-centric and that allowed our fans to voice their opinions through polling.”

 

ESPN and NFL Re-Open Contract, Could VERSUS Get Involved Finally?

From John Ourand of Sports Business Journal:

ESPN is not the only one that would benefit from re-opening the deal, however. The NFL is looking to relax a “cable exclusivity” clause that ESPN put in the original contract. The clause says that no other cable network can carry a full-season’s schedule of NFL games.

 

NFL Network has carried an eight-game schedule since 2006.

 

As the NFL looks to expand to an 18-game schedule as early as 2012, the league wants the flexibility to shop additional packages to cable networks, such as, potentially, Turner Sports, Versus and FX.

HBO Changes Pens/Caps 24/7 Logo. Happy Now, Ya’ Bunch of Babies?

courtesy DC Sports Bog.

Everything Continues to be Coming Up Millhouse for NHL

NEW YORK (November 8, 2010) – Fueled by an unprecedented number of digital product introductions spanning broadband, mobile and social media, the NHL’s digital strategy continued to deliver new milestones of fan engagement in October, the National Hockey League announced today. Mobile downloads, NHL GameCenter LIVE subscriptions, Facebook fans and NHL.com traffic from around the world have all reached new heights, further evidence of the strong global demand for NHL content and the League’s reach and distribution.

 

The League continues to see growth across traditional platforms including ratings and merchandise sales for the first month of the season. Highlights from around the business include:

NHL Mobile

 

The League’s strong mobile performance has been led by the introduction of more than 25 new digital products in the marketplace and the NHL’s young, affluent, tech-savvy fan base, following their favorite players and teams wherever they may be.

 

· In the first month of the season there have been more than 500,000 downloads (free and paid) of NHL GameCenter through strategic mobile partnerships including Verizon, Bell, Apple, Google, Nokia and RIM.

 

· Page Views to the NHL.com mobile website increased 48% for the month of October year-over-year

 

· The GameCenter iPhone app is currently ranked No. 1 in the sports category in Canada, where it has held that position 2 out of the 4 weeks it has been in the marketplace. It has head one of the top 3 positions in this category for the first four weeks of availability in the marketplace in the U.S.*

 

· The GameCenter iPad app is currently No. 1 in the sports category in the Canada (free and paid), and No. 4 with the free app and No. 5 for the paid app in the U.S.*

 

· Outside of North America, the GameCenter iPhone app has held the No. 1 position among sports apps in Finland since its inception, and was No. 1 in Slovakia 3 out of the 5 weeks of its availability.*

 

 

(*Source: iTunes Top Charts)

 

NHL GameCenter LIVE

 

The League continues to serve fans’ demand of NHL hockey with a robust offering of out-of-market games through its premium streaming service NHL GameCenter LIVE:

 

· NHL GCL subscriptions are up 25 percent season-to-date compared to the same time period last year.

 

 

NHL on Facebook

 

The NHL has reached one million fans on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/NHL), strong validation of the NHL’s ambitious syndication strategy to shorten the distance between the League and its fans. Importantly for the League, fans of the NHL on Facebook tend to visit NHL.com more than other fans, spend more time on the site, view more videos and consume more stories.

 

 

NHL.COM

 

Through first 24 days of the NHL season, the following were up compared to the same time period last season:

 

· Unique Visitors (UVs) are up 29 percent

 

· Page Views are up 27 percent

 

· Visits have increased by 15 percent

 

· Video starts are up 155 percent

 

· Articles read are up 77 percent

 

· Video starts up 155 percent

 

For all of October:

 

· UVs from Canada is up 14 percent, from the United States up 26 percent, Finland 64 percent, Sweden 19 percent and Germany 18 percent.

 

NHL Cable Partners Nationally and Locally Seeing Strong Growth

 

· Through the week ending Oct. 31, VERSUS has seen an 18 percent increase in total households and a 12 percent increase in viewership for its exclusive NHL telecasts, resulting in the best opening month of the NHL in network history.

 

· TSN’s Wednesday Hockey NHL telecasts are up 24 percent compared to last year’s season average.

 

· Ratings have been strong via regional sports networks in the U.S. The markets experiencing double digit percentage ratings increases through Oct. 31 are: Los Angeles (+100 percent), Chicago (+75 percent), New York Islanders (50%), St. Louis (+43 percent) Tampa Bay (+33 percent), Washington (23%), Edmonton (17%) and Boston (15%)

 

NHL Merchandise in Global Demand

 

Season-to-date, NHL merchandise has seen the following increases for the month of October over the same time period last year:

 

· North American retail sales and in-area per caps are both up 9 percent

 

· Sales at the NHL Powered By Reebok store are up 13 percent

 

· Apparel sales are up 22 percent, and Electronic Games are up 27 percent.

 

· Last week the Shop.NHL.com experienced a 26 percent increase in sales over the same period in 2009.

 

New Partnerships Increase Distribution, Reach

In the lead-up to the start of the season, the NHL made a trio of significant announcements. The NHL and HBO outlined plans for a new series leading into the NHL’s New Year’s Day outdoor game, “24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic,” a four-episode all-access series which chronicles the two fierce rivals. The NHL also became the first professional sports league with a dedicated presence on Foursquare, one of the leading social media innovators. And the League also has partnered with Stan Lee on The Guardian Project, a new franchise from the legendary comic book creator that will incorporate the identities of all 30 NHL teams into superheroes.

 

2009-10 NHL Business: Best Year on Record

Despite difficult global economic conditions, in 2009-10 the NHL posted its fourth-consecutive year of strong business growth, engaging with a record number of fans. The League generated record television ratings during the playoffs, saw triple digit increases across its digital platforms, added sponsors and experienced a 66 percent increase in advertising and sponsorship revenue, set merchandising sales records during the Stanley Cup Final and played to 102 percent of arena capacity for the postseason.

 

Kraft Hockeyville is Back

Toronto, ON – November 8, 2010 – Every new NHL® season marks the beginning of a new Kraft Hockeyville competition. The Kraft Hockeyville partners including; Kraft Canada, CBC, The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) have opened the nomination phase for Kraft Hockeyville 2011 – the search for Canada’s most passionate hockey town. Canadians from coast-to-coast can enter to win $100,000 in arena upgrades courtesy of Kraft Canada and a 2011/12 NHL® pre-season game played at their local arena plus a special CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast from their community. Four runner-up communities will receive $25,000 each for arena upgrades from Kraft Canada. The nomination phase closes on January 30, 2011.

 

This year, the competition has introduced an updated logo and a new format that will split the country into five regions to allow for a greater representation. Additionally, five NHL® players have joined as regional ambassadors for Kraft Hockeyville 2011 including; San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton (Ontario), Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows (Quebec), Calgary Flames forward Brendan Morrison (Pacific), Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers (West) and Detroit Red Wings forward Dan Cleary (Atlantic). Entrants will be able to watch each player’s video testimonial in the near future on the new Kraft Hockeyville website at http://www.krafthockeyville.ca. Tyler Myers has played in a previous Kraft Hockeyville NHL pre-season game.

“The great thing about Kraft Hockeyville is that it brings the game back to its roots at the local rink.” said Dan Cleary, Detroit Red Wings forward. “It’s a great reminder of how hockey plays such a big role in our lives and brings communities together across the country.”

 

Beginning November 5, 2010 Communities can enter the Kraft Hockeyville 2011 competition by logging-on to a new website, http://www.krafthockeyville.ca and nominating their community. Communities must complete a simple application form and submit a short essay (up to 4,000 characters) with up to three supporting photos (at least one photo must be submitted to qualify) that depicts their hometown pride and passion for the game.

 

Participants have until Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET to submit their application. The top 10 communities chosen to compete for the Kraft Hockeyville 2011 title will be revealed on the Kraft Hockeyville 2011 show on CBC on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. Canadians will then vote for their top five communities from March 8 – March 13, 2011. Once the votes have been tallied, the top five communities will be announced on CBC’s HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA on March 19, 2011. At that point the slate will reset, and Canadians will vote from March 19 to March 21, 2011 for their favourite top five community and ultimately, the Kraft Hockeyville 2011 champion.

 

On Saturday, April 2, 2011 the Kraft Hockeyville team and CBC’s HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA crew will visit and broadcast live from each of the top five communities. The Kraft Hockeyville 2011 winner will be announced live that evening on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA. The winning community will join previous champions from Dundas, ON (2010); Terrace, BC (2009); Roberval, QC (2008); North Bay, ON (2007); and Salmon River, NS (2006).

 

“What I love about the Kraft Hockeyville competition is the way it showcases the incredible community spirit and passion that Canadians have for their communities and the game of hockey,” said Dino Bianco, President, Kraft Canada. “With exciting new elements this year including a regional format and NHL player representation in each region, we anticipate even greater inspiration for communities in their quest to become the next Kraft Hockeyville.”

 

“Kraft Hockeyville continues to be a terrific success,” said Scott Moore, executive director CBC Sports and general manager of the Revenue Group. “It is a program that truly showcases the pride and enthusiasm Canadians have in their communities. Last season, once again remarkable submissions were received from right across the country, and the winning community of Dundas, Ontario was fantastic. We can’t wait to see what this year holds.”

 

“The NHL is pleased to continue the successful partnership with Kraft, CBC and the NHLPA to showcase the many passionate hockey communities across Canada,” said Brian Jennings, the NHL’s executive vice president of marketing. “We look forward to celebrating the sixth installment of Kraft Hockeyville and awarding one deserving community with an NHL pre-season game.”

 

“Kraft Hockeyville provides communities across Canada with a unique opportunity to bring the world’s best hockey players to their local arena,” said Mike Ouellet, NHLPA Chief of Business Affairs. “Over the last five years, including this past September in Dundas, Kraft Hockeyville has been an amazing experience for the fans in the winning communities and for the NHLPA members who have participated. We encourage communities across the country to start working on their applications in hopes of seeing NHL stars playing this game in their hometown.”

 

The Kraft Hockeyville team will be keeping fans up-to-date throughout the competition. To view videos and receive insider updates, fans should join the Kraft Hockeyville Facebook page, check out coverage on NHL.com and follow @hockeyville on Twitter. For more information on Kraft Hockeyville 2011 and to receive updates and information on how to enter your community, visit http://www.krafthockeyville.ca.

 

Kraft Canada has supported hockey for over 30 years through sponsorships and grassroots programs. The Kraft Hockeyville partners have provided $790,000 in arena upgrade money, equipment and local food bank donations through the Kraft Hockeyville program.

 

Apparently, The Blackhawks Still Had Room to Grow, Ratings-wise

Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, posted significant television ratings for the first month of the 2010-11 NHL season, which resulted in solid game, pre-game & post-game ratings increases compared to last season.

Comcast SportsNet’s Blackhawks ratings averaged a 2.82 household average rating in October (approx. 98,773 households watching per game) — a 77% increase over last October’s 1.59 average. Compared to October 2008’s 0.97 household average, Blackhawks ratings for October ‘10 were up 191%…compared to three years ago in October 2007 (0.41), ratings for this October increased 588%.

The key advertiser demos of Men 25-54 and Adults 25-54 also received solid ratings increases compared to last season. For Men 25-54, October monthly ratings were up 72% (3.1 in Oct. ’10, compared to a 1.8 in Oct. ’09). For Adults 25-54, monthly ratings increased 77% (2.3 in Oct. ’10, compared to a 1.3 in Oct. ’09).

All ten of Comcast SportsNet’s Blackhawks telecasts this October averaged at least a 2.0 household rating. Last October, only one game averaged at least a 2.0 rating. In addition to its ratings increases for game telecasts, Comcast SportsNet’s Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live household ratings were up 200% compared to last October (up 150% for Adults 25-54), while Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live ratings increased 117% for households (up 80% for Adults 25-54). Source for all ratings information is provided by Nielsen Media Research.

Official Word on NHL/Discover Partnership

(NEW YORK, NY) November 8, 2010 – Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) and the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced a new sponsorship naming Discover as an Official Partner of the NHL® in the U.S. The sponsorship also designates Discover as the Official Card of the NHL, NHL All-Star Weekend, NHL Winter Classic, NHL Awards™, and the NHL Entry Draft. As part of the deal, Discover has become the presenting sponsor of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.

“Partnering with the NHL gives us great opportunities to connect with our cardmembers around their passion for the sport of Hockey,” said Harit Talwar, president of U.S. Cards for Discover. “Through various cardmember exclusives and unique experiences, including special access to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover, we are providing meaningful reasons for cardmembers to use their Discover Card everyday. It’s another great way to show how it pays to Discover.”

 

The partnership extends Discover’s existing investment in hockey, giving them extended opportunities to engage with U.S. hockey fans nationwide and develop exclusive hockey-themed rewards opportunities and experiences across various NHL special events. In unprecedented fashion, one lucky Discover cardmember will have the opportunity to spend a personal day with the Stanley Cup.

 

“Discover’s passion for providing unique rewards and experiences to their cardmembers is an excellent fit with the NHL where we are predicated on engaging and mobilizing fans around big events,” said Keith Wachtel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales & Marketing for the NHL. “This coupled with Discover’s significant support of our broadcast partners and NHL controlled media assets will provide a deeper engagement with our highly desirable fan demographic.”

 

In addition through this partnership, Discover will offer opportunities for cardmembers to redeem their Cashback® Bonus rewards for discounts to Shop.NHL.com and the NHL Powered by Reebok store in New York City, GameCenter Live subscriptions, autographed NHL merchandise, and more.