NHL Does Well with Heritage Classic

NEW YORK (February 25, 2011) – The Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™, one of the cornerstones of the NHL’s big event strategy, continued the League’s business momentum while driving substantial growth and fan engagement on North American television, via digital platforms such as NHL.com, through social media platforms like Twitter, at retail outlets and at a sold-out McMahon Stadium in Calgary. The NHL Heritage Classic also set an NHL event record for both total sponsorship revenue and activation, surpassing the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®.


Other highlights included the event delivering the fourth-largest audience ever for an NHL game on VERSUS in the U.S. at that time and big audiences for CBC and RDS. The NHL Heritage Classic led NHL.com to its best Sunday performance of the season and was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in Canada. Additionally, merchandise sales for the outdoor game were the third-largest in history for an NHL event.


“The Heritage Classic was a tremendous triumph for the NHL and it was gratifying to see our fans and the business community embrace the event so enthusiastically,” said NHL COO John Collins. “Our big event strategy is activating our fan base like never before, while helping the League achieve five straight years of revenue growth. Delivering our third successful major event in just 51 days is a great way to lead into the stretch run of the season and our ultimate event, the Stanley Cup Playoffs. ”



The CBC broadcast of the NHL Heritage Classic averaged 2.078 million viewers, up 7 percent over its season average of 1.936 million for HNIC early telecasts. Viewership for this year’s NHL Heritage Classic game on CBC peaked at 2.9 million viewers, while French language RDS peaked at 1.6 million viewers.



Capping off a full day of televised hockey with “Hockey Day in America” on NBC, the

NHL Heritage Classic on VERSUS Sunday night averaged 608,000 viewers, which at that time made it the fourth-most-watched regular-season game in the network’s history. The game, which peaked at more than 700,000 viewers between 7-7:15 p.m. ET, was the most-watched regular-season game between two Canadian teams on U.S. cable since NHL viewership became available by Nielsen in the 1993-94 season. The 608,000 viewers also marks a 95 percent increase from the 2010-11 NHL regular-season average on VERSUS (311,000 viewers).



1. 12/14/2010 Pittsburgh at Philadelphia 750,000

2. 10/7/2010 Philadelphia at Pittsburgh 730,000

3. 3/22/2010 Pittsburgh at Detroit 622,000

4. 2/20/2011 2011 NHL Heritage Classic: Montreal at Calgary 608,000



With regional doubleheaders and the national Game of the Week, Hockey Day in America on NBC recorded its highest overnight ratings of the season for indoor hockey coverage with a 1.2. This marks an 83 percent increase when compared to the same weekend in 2009 when the Washington Capitals hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins (NBC was airing the Olympics in 2010 during the same week).


NBC Sports’ coverage of the Penguins-Blackhawks, the second game of Hockey Day in America which went head-to-head with the Daytona 500, was watched by 1.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game in five years.



• The 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ drove this season’s top Sunday in terms of unique visitors and visits from Canada

• Web traffic was up significantly in Canada, the U.S. and internationally over a typical regular-season Sunday

• It was the top Sunday this season for international page views on NHL.com



The substantial merchandise sales for the NHL Heritage Classic helped it rank third overall in sales for an NHL event. Sales also were 180 percent higher than the NHL Winter Classic in Buffalo and up 18 percent over the NHL Winter Classic in Chicago.


The top selling items were Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff jerseys; the Reebok cold weather knit hat; and the official puck, event scarf, game programs and the Reebok hooded sweatshirt.



The NHL aggressively and creatively promoted the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ as one of the League’s major tentpole events and corporate sponsors responded in a big way. Sponsor revenue and activation exceeded the recent NHL Winter Classic® becoming the highest revenue-generating event in NHL history.


Among the Canadian institutions partnering with the League for the event were Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, BlackBerry and Scotiabank.



As an indication of the interest in the event in Canada, #HeritageClassic was the top organic trend on Twitter in Canada throughout the entire game and #HeritageClassic peaked at the No. 3 trending topic worldwide.



The success of the NHL Heritage Classic comes on the heels of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, which saw all sponsorship opportunities sold out and a 22 percent increase in viewership for the U.S. broadcast on NBC. The recent NHL All-Star Game was also a huge success for the League, earning significant increases in viewership in Canada and the United States, a 42 percent increase in sponsorship revenue over the last All-Star Game in the U.S., an all-time record for video starts on NHL.com and the best retail performance for a U.S.-based All-Star Game in seven years.




“Sunday’s Heritage Classic proved that, until further notice, you can’t get enough of a good thing.” – ESPN.com


“As an event, it was a massive success.” – Calgary Sun


“If there was ever a compelling case for the NHL outdoor format to be expanded, it was made by yesterday’s Heritage Classic game in Calgary…for the 40,000 people on site, and probably the millions who watched in Canada, it was special enough. And that’s why we need more of them.” – SI.com


“The NHL ended its outdoor adventure for another year with a successful return to Canada.” — Reuters


“The idea to bring NHL games outdoors has been the best and most innovative idea a major sports league has had.” — NESN




Hawks-Caps Will Be the Game of the Week on March 13th

NEW YORK (February 24, 2011) –The Sunday, March 13, Chicago Blackhawks at Washington Capitals game has been flexed as NBC Sports’ “Game of the Week” and will be played at Verizon Center at 12:30 p.m. ET, the National Hockey League and NBC Sports announced today.


The only meeting between these marquee clubs this season, the ice will be filled with NHL All-Stars on both sides: Chicago Captain Jonathan Toews leads Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, 2011 All-Star Game MVP Patrick Sharp and the rest of the Blackhawks (31-23-6) into Washington for the first time since Oct. 11, 2008, to face Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green and the Capitals (32-19-10).


In the only meeting of the teams last season, the Capitals erased a 3-0 deficit by scoring three third-period goals in the span of two minutes and 16 seconds, eventually winning on an overtime goal from Nicklas Backstrom. In that game, played in Chicago and televised by NBC Sports, Ovechkin received a game misconduct and a subsequent two-game suspension for a first-period hit on Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell.


As the NHL approaches the final quarter of the 2010-11 regular season, both the Blackhawks and Capitals need every point they can earn. Currently tied for 9th place in the Western Conference with 68 points, the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are two points out of a playoff spot. In what is shaping up to be a historic Western Conference playoff race, Chicago currently sits within two points of seven other clubs. Washington is fifth in the Eastern Conference, but only three points behind Tampa Bay for the Southeast Division lead and one of the top three seeds in the conference. The game against Chicago will be the final home game for the Caps before heading on a critical six-game road trip.




At least 13 days prior to the scheduled game, one game is selected for broadcast on NBC. All NBC games will be broadcast on Sundays and all games will be presented in HD. Games not flexed to NBC will be available to the teams’ regional carriers and remain at the originally announced start time. The Mar. 13 match-up was first announced on the Thursday, Feb. 24, edition of “NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman” on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio airing from 6-7 p.m. ET. All subsequent flexed games will be announced on NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman.


Upcoming 2011 NBC Game of the Week Regular-Season Flexible Schedule




Mar. 20 NY Rangers at Pittsburgh OR

New Jersey at Columbus TBD

Apr. 3 NY Rangers at Philadelphia OR

Minnesota at Detroit OR

Tampa Bay at Chicago TBD

Apr. 10 Boston at New Jersey OR

Pittsburgh at Atlanta OR

Detroit at Chicago OR

Dallas at Minnesota TBD


TSN Announces Epic Tradecentre Plans, Will Have 30 People On-Air on Deadline Day

Toronto, ON (February 24, 2011) – It’s one of the biggest days on the NHL calendar and TSN has it covered from every possible angle, as Canada’s Sports Leader delivers the country’s most comprehensive coverage of NHL Trade Deadline Day during its marquee, multi-platform event, TRADECENTRE ’11.


TSN’s 10-hour flagship show, TRADECENTRE ’11, airs live nationally on Monday, Feb. 28 beginning at 8 a.m. ET. TRADECENTRE ’11 also streams live in its entirety online at TSN.ca, on the TRADECENTRE app for iPad and iPhone, and on the TSN MOBILE app for BlackBerry.


Fans across the country can also experience TSN’s all-encompassing TRADECENTRE ’11 coverage wherever they are by:

• Visiting TSN.ca for the latest trade news, opinion and analysis

• Downloading the brand-new TRADECENTRE app for iPad or the popular TRADECENTRE app for iPhone

• Getting the TSN MOBILE apps for iPhone and BlackBerry

• Following TSN’s hockey experts and Insiders on Twitter or joining the discussion on the TSN Fan Page on Facebook


Leading up to TRADECENTRE ’11, fans can get primed for the NHL trade deadline with a special 90-minute episode of THAT’S HOCKEY 2NITE on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 11:30 p.m. ET on TSN, featuring host Steve Kouleas and analyst Matthew Barnaby teeing up the decisive day.


Last year, TRADECENTRE ’10 proved to be appointment viewing for Canadians, as TSN’s live 10-hour show attracted more viewers than all other Canadian sports networks’ trade deadline day coverage combined. Overall, more than 2.6 million hockey fans tuned in at some point to TRADECENTRE ’10.


TSN has brought comprehensive day-long coverage of NHL Trade Deadline Day to fans since 2000.


TRADECENTRE ’11 Broadcast Team

Host James Duthie leads TSN’s TRADECENTRE ’11 team of hockey analysts, Insiders, former NHL players, coaches and general managers, reporters and correspondents – providing breaking news and instant analysis of each transaction, along with interviews with players, coaches and GMs. TSN’s correspondents are with each Canadian team to file live reports and deliver instant reaction for each trade.


The TRADECENTRE ’11 broadcast team is as follows:

• Host: James Duthie

• Trade Breaker Desk: Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and Gord Miller

• Instant Analysis Panel: Pierre McGuire, Ray Ferraro and Craig MacTavish

• Deadline Panel: Gino Reda and Steve Kouleas with Matthew Barnaby, Mike Johnson, Michael Peca and Aaron Ward

• Players in Play: Darren Dutchyshen and Darren Pang

• TSN Capologist: Craig Button

• TSN Remote Contributor: Keith Jones

• TSN The Reporters Panel: Dave Hodge with Sports Illustrated’s Michael Farber, Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons and Globe and Mail’s Eric Duhatschek

• TradeCentre Live Blogger: Jay Onrait

• TSN Correspondents: Farhan Lalji, Ryan Rishaug, Jermain Franklin, Cory Woron, Brent Wallace, John Lu, Sheri Forde and Katherine Dolan


Immediately following TRADECENTRE ’11 on TSN, host Rod Smith recaps the day’s events with reaction from around the NHL on SPORTSCENTRE at 6 p.m. ET, while host Gino Reda moves over to the THAT’S HOCKEY desk to provide additional analysis, reaction and player interviews at 7 p.m. ET.


TRADECENTRE ’11 on iPad and iPhone

Fans can keep tabs on all the latest breaking trade news using the TRADECENTRE app for iPhone and – new this year – for iPad. Along with live streaming of TRADECENTRE ’11, the TRADECENTRE app features a live trade tracker and up-to-the-minute trade news and alerts. Fans using the TRADECENTRE app on their iPad can also get access to on-demand video clips and a Tweetbox – enabling fans to follow TSN’s hockey experts and Insiders on Twitter without having to leave the app.



Canada’s industry-leading sports website is the definitive destination for breaking trade news on NHL Trade Deadline Day. In addition to live streaming of TRADECENTRE ’11, TSN.ca once again presents its real-time trade tracker with updates on all the trades as they happen and live streaming audio of TRADECENTRE ’11 for fans with no online video access.


TSN’s Jay Onrait returns to the website with his sixth-annual, 10-hour TRADECENTRE ’11 blog, as he provides his unique perspective on all the wheeling and dealing from the comfort of his couch beginning at 8 a.m. ET. Onrait also joins TRADECENTRE ’11 throughout the day via Skype.


TSN.ca also features video interviews and analysis from TSN’s hockey experts and Insiders, plus interactive polls, YourCall message boards, and a Twitter feed featuring up-to-the-minute TRADECENTRE ’11 tweets from TSN personalities. Fans can join the conversation by using the #tsntradecentre hashtag on Twitter or by joining the TRADECENTRE ’11 Facebook chat.


Last year, TSN.ca recorded its fourth busiest day of all time with 12.8 million page views on NHL Trade Deadline Day – four times the website’s daily average. In total, TSN.ca registered 1.1 million unique visitors and 428,000 total video views with live streaming of TRADECENTRE ’10 accounting for more than 100,000 of those views.


To date, the top four busiest days in TSN.ca history have been on NHL Trade Deadline Day.

Terry Pegula Joins Bettman on The NHL Hour

NEW YORK (February 24, 2011) – New Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula will be today’s guest on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio at 6 p.m. ET.


In 1983, Pegula told his business partner, Robert H. Long, Jr., “If I ever have more than two nickels to my name, I’m going to buy the Buffalo Sabres one day.” Almost 30 years later, Pegula’s dream came true when the Sabres — celebrating their 40th anniversary season — introduced Pegula as the team’s new owner on Tuesday.


A lifelong hockey fan, the 59-year-old Pegula founded East Resources Inc. (an independent oil and gas exploration and development company) in 1983. Over the next 27 years, he built it into one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.


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 for the Commissioner. To submit questions to NHL Hour call 1-877-645-6696.


NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman is a production of NHL Radio.



Broadcast News: Let’s All Accept That the Devils Will Get Into One of These Before The Year is Out

The Match-ups

Eastern Conference

#8 Carolina vs. #1 Philadelphia
#7 NY Rangers vs. #2 Tampa Bay
#6 Montreal vs. #3 Boston
#5 Washington vs. #4 Pittsburgh

#8 vs. #1 Vancouver
#7 Calgary vs. #2 Detroit
#6 Nashville vs. #3 San Jose
#5 Minnesota vs. #4 Phoenix


Definite NBC Match-ups: Washington-Pittsburgh
Potential Match-ups: NY Rangers-Tampa Bay, Calgary-Detroit
Possible Alternates: Minnesota-Phoenix, Carolina-Philadelphia
Replacement Series: Nashville-San Jose, Montreal-Boston

All 7 Games:
Washington-Pittsburgh, Los Angeles-Vancouver, NY Rangers-Tampa Bay
Most of the Series: Calgary-Detroit, Carolina-Philadelphia, Montreal-Boston
West Coast Only: Minnesota-Phoenix, Nashville-San Jose

CBC Networks Draft

#1 (CBC): Montreal-Boston
#2 (CBC): Los Angeles-Vancouver
#3 (TSN): Calgary-Detroit
#4 (CBC): Washington-Pittsburgh
#5 (TSN): Minnesota-Phoenix
#6 (CBC): Nashville-San Jose
#7-8 (TSN): NY Rangers-Tampa Bay, Carolina-Philadelphia

NHL Denies Talks with YouTube

From Staci D. Kramer of Paid Content:

The National Hockey League is denying a Bloomberg report from Seoul that it is in talks with YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) to stream live games. Asked about the report based on comments by Google executives, an NHL spokesperson said that “while Google is a valued partner, the NHL has never had any discussions with YouTube to stream live games.”


The report from Seoul cited Gautam Anand, Google’s director of content partnerships for Asia Pacific, and Brian Suh, head of YouTube partnerships for Google Korea, and keyed off the success of last year’s streaming deal for the cricket Indian Premier League.

Pens-Hawks Most-Watched non-Winter Classic NHL Regular Season Game Since 2006

NEW YORK – Feb. 23, 2011 – NBC Sports and VERSUS generated viewership milestones for the combined nine hours of hockey coverage this past Sunday with the inaugural “Hockey Day in America” on NBC followed by the 2011 Heritage Classic on VERSUS.

NBC Sports’ coverage of Penguins-Blackhawks, the second game of “Hockey Day in America” which went head-to-head with the Daytona 500, was watched by 1.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game in five years (1/14/06, three-game regional on NBC, 2.0 million). The game also posted a 1.1 rating, tied with last year’s Penguins-Capitals (2/7) for the highest regular-season non-Winter Classic NHL game in four years (3/4/07, three-game regional on NBC, 1.2). The game peaked at a 1.9 rating for its final half hour. Viewership for Sunday’s NHL regional coverage on NBC is not yet available.


Including the Winter Classic, NBC Sports is averaging 2.1 million viewers for its first five measured NHL exposures of 2011, the most through five broadcasts in 14 years. In 1997, Fox averaged 2.8 million for its first five broadcasts.


The 2011 Heritage Classic on VERSUS Sunday night, played between two Canadian teams (Montreal at Calgary) and won in a 4-0 blowout by Calgary, averaged 608,000 viewers, making it the fourth most-watched regular-season game in the network’s history (third best this season). The game, which peaked at over 700,000 viewers between 7:00-7:15 p.m. ET, was the most-watched regular-season game between two Canadian teams on cable since NHL viewership became available by Nielsen in the 1993/94 season. The 608,000 viewers also marks a 95-percent increase from the 2010/11 NHL regular-season average on VERSUS (311,000 viewers). The game garnered a 0.5 HH coverage rating (0.3 US rating).




12/14/2010 Pittsburgh at Philadelphia 750,000


10/7/2010 Philadelphia at Pittsburgh 730,000


3/22/2010 Pittsburgh at Detroit 622,000


2/20/2011 2011 Heritage Classic: Montreal at Calgary 608,000


10/9/2008 Toronto at Detroit 577,000


CROSS-CHANNEL PRIORITY: Both “Hockey Day” and the “Heritage Classic” were identified by NBCUniversal’s Marketing Council as cross-channel priorities. They received extensive promotion across NBC Universal’s 20 channels and more than 40 websites. Both events leveraged the newly-expanded resources of the NBC Sports Group by combining the national media assets of NBC Sports and VERSUS and local insight from storied hockey markets like Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia served by Comcast SportsNet.