Remember, 24/7 Premieres a Week From Today

NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2010 – HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 12 Sports Emmy® Awards, will join forces with the National Hockey League to take viewers inside one of the NHL’s great rivalries, between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, for 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC, an innovative four-episode, all-access reality series, it was announced today by Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports and John Collins, chief operating officer for the NHL.

The HBO Sports presentation debuts in prime time WEDNESDAY, DEC. 15 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), with an immediate encore at 11:00 p.m., and follows the two clubs simultaneously, chronicling their highs and lows each week. The teams will meet in a Dec. 23 regular-season matchup on the Capitals’ home ice, leading into episode three of 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS, as the build-up intensifies for the Jan. 1 showdown at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Noted Greenburg, “Taking our reality series ‘24/7’ into the world of the National Hockey League is a perfect fit. The ‘24/7’ franchise is fashioned on larger-than-life personalities, engaging storylines and unrestricted access. With Sidney Crosby leading the Penguins and Alex Ovechkin leading the Capitals, we have all the ingredients for a dynamic show that will take viewers deep inside professional hockey and set the stage for the Winter Classic.”

Said Collins, “Teaming up with the 12-time Emmy Award®-winning and much acclaimed HBO ‘24/7’ series gives us an incredible opportunity to bring our fans even deeper inside two model hockey organizations during the regular season as we lead into the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. In just three short years, the Winter Classic has become so well established on the national sports calendar it’s truly a New Year’s Day tradition. Uniting HBO’s amazing reality series with one of sport’s greatest rivalries in an outdoor setting in front of 65,000 raucous fans will make this Winter Classic the most anticipated one yet.”

Ensuing episodes of 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC debut on subsequent Wednesdays – Dec. 22 and 29 and Jan. 5 – at 10:00 p.m., with an immediate encore play at 11:00 p.m. The Jan. 5 series finale debuts four days after the Classic, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding the Capitals and Penguins on game day. All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series will also be available on HBO On Demand.

The series will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access, along with in-depth interviews of coaches, players and front-office personnel, as the Caps and Penguins battle through their December schedules, meeting twice in one week, including the first-ever NHL game at Heinz Field.

24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC is HBO Sports’ first reality foray into pro hockey. The acclaimed “24/7” franchise began in 2007 with “De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7,” followed by seven additional boxing installments. Last January, HBO Sports extended the “24/7” franchise with “24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona,” which chronicled the NASCAR champion’s preparations for the 2010 Daytona 500.

Newsday.com has observed, “HBO’s ‘24/7’ series is the best sports program on television. Bar none.”

The St. Petersburg Times noted, “The best sports reality show on television is HBO’s ‘24/7’.”

Newsday wrote that “the Winter Classic is the best idea the NHL has had in years.”

With 12 Sports Emmy® Awards, “24/7” is the most honored sports series of the past three years. At the 2010 Sports Emmy® Awards, the franchise took home five trophies for production excellence, including awards for Outstanding Edited Sports Special, Outstanding Camera Work and Outstanding Writing.

The executive producers of 24/7 PENGUINS/CAPITALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producers, Scott Boggins and Bentley Weiner; Aaron Cohen is the writer; Liev Schreiber narrates. Production assistance will be supplied by National Hockey League Productions.

Now You Can Tell the Devils They Suck In Their Arena, On an iPad

From Don Muret on Sports Business Journal:

The New Jersey Devils continue to build on a new social media center at Prudential Center, preparing to offer hockey fans access to iPads so they can stay connected with online friends and the team’s mobile website.

Devils Arena Entertainment, the team’s arena operator, invested “well into six figures” to build what project officials describe as a digital command center on the venue’s main concourse, with six desktops and six 50-inch high-definition televisions showing the team’s games, said Rich Krezwick, the group’s president.

Later this week, 20 iPads customized with the Devils’ application as well as apps from the NHL and other sports will be available to rent for $20 apiece at the center. IPad users must provide a valid credit card number and sign a short contract holding them liable for theft or any damage while the units are in their possession, Krezwick said.

The mobile computers, valued at $500 individually, contain filters preventing users from gaining access to inappropriate sites.

“People can access the Internet and go to their Facebook page after they have registered,” Krezwick said. “It is not a revenue idea but a social media service. It is a sophisticated way for us to stay in touch with our fans during the game.”

It’s Such a Pleasure to See the Hockey Revival in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues have enjoyed a 54% increase in viewership this season according to Nielsen Media Research, including a 3.5 household rating in St. Louis compared to a 2.3 rating at this juncture last year. The Blues rank fourth in local market TV ratings among U.S.-based NHL teams, behind Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Detroit.

“Once again our fans show their dedication and support of our team with these remarkable ratings,” said Blues CEO Mike McCarthy. “Sold out crowds night after night at Scottrade Center and viewership doubling from last year are true signs that our fans are dialed into this team.”

The Blues will play a franchise record 10 home games this December starting this Thursday, Dec. 9 against Columbus. Overall, the Blues will host nine of their next 11 games at Scottrade Center where they own an 8-2-1 (.773) record. Seven of the Blues’ next nine games can be viewed on FS-Midwest in High Definition.