NHL Will Launch New Playoff Campaign, “Because It’s The Cup”

From Terry Lefton at Sports Business Daily (reg. required):

The NHL this week is debuting a new postseason marketing campaign with the tagline, “Because It’s The Cup,” according to Terry Lefton in this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The new effort replaces the two-year-old “History Will Be Made” campaign and “showcases a new and unprecedented degree of cooperation between the league and MolsonCoors, which signed an NHL-record” $375M North American sponsorship deal last February.

NHL marketers are “trying to turn the Stanley Cup playoffs into their own version of March Madness.” NHL Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings said that an objective is to “attract non-hockey fans by ‘socializing the Stanley Cup playoffs.'” The shift from “History Will Be Made,” directed at avid fans, to “Because It’s The Cup,” aimed at casual and non-fans, “was based on research among casual and non-hockey fans showing that even those who could barely name a player on a team other than their local NHL club still had a knowledge of and appreciation for the Stanley Cup’s heritage.”

NBCSN Has Hockey East Final Four as Part of Big Week

Every night this week, save for Thursday, will be filled with some form of hockey on the NBC Sports Network, hallelujah. The playoffs are near!

Of course, you’ve got the typical Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday NHL games on the network, in addition to a bonus game on Saturday. Making things even more terrific: exclusive coverage outside New England of the Hockey East final four and Championship Game this Friday and Saturday.

Friday night the network will air a doubleheader, starting at 5 p.m. ET with defending champion and No. 1 seed Boston College will face underdog seventh-seeded Providence, who seek out their third Lamoriello Cup (which, of course, is named after the former Friars coach and athletic director, who went on to do some further work of consequence in hockey). The Golden Eagles have won Hockey East a record 10 times before.

After an in-between NHL Live (one of the great things about NBC’s college hockey coverage is that they’ll intersperse NHL and NCAA highlights), 7-time champion and third-seeded Boston University hosting No. 4 Maine, who have won the tournament five times, at 8 p.m. ET. The winners of the two games will meet in the final, on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Talent for the tournament is currently unavailable.

What follows is the fairly impressive live schedule this week on NBC Sports Network

Monday
6:00 NBC Sports Talk
8:30 NHL Live
9:00 Anaheim vs. Colorado
11:30 NHL Live
1:00 NHL Overtime 

Tuesday
6:00 
NBC Sports Talk
7:00 NHL Live
7:30 Carolina vs. NY Rangers
10:00 NHL Live
11:30 NHL Overtime

Wednesday

6:00 NBC Sports Talk
7:00 NHL Live
7:30 Colorado vs. Buffalo
10:00 NHL Live
11:30 NHL Overtime

Thursday
6:00
NBC Sports Talk

Friday
5:00 Providence vs. Boston College
7:30 NHL Live
8:00 Maine vs. Boston University
10:30 NHL Overtime
11:30 CNBC Sports Biz: Game On

Saturday
8:00
 Hockey East championship
10:30 Detroit vs. San Jose

Sunday
12:30 
Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh (NBC)
4:00
 MLS: Colorado vs. Philadelphia
6:30 NHL Live
7:00 Washington vs. Chicago
9:30 NHL Live
10:00 NHL Overtime 

Bruins-Penguins Hits Season Low on Sunday

Against college basketball’s final day of the regular season, the NHL on NBC faltered.

The network’s broadcast of the Boston Bruins vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins drew a season low 0.8 overnight rating according to Sports Business Daily (reg. required), the lowest number for a game on the network since March 20, 2011 (NYR/PIT: 0.7). The game was beaten by both a college basketball pre-game show (1.0) and the Atlantic 10 championship game (1.4) on CBS.

Bruins/Penguins was down 23% from last year’s comparable game (3/13/11, CHI/WSH: 0.9) and 30% from two years ago (3/14/10, WSH/CHI: 1.0). For more numbers, check The Hockey Ratings Database.

The network will look to rebound next Sunday against March Madness, but with a matchup (Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh) that drew VERSUS’ highest ratings last season, and potentially armed with a returning Sidney Crosby, so we’ll see.

NHL On NBC Overnights This Season
November 25 – Detroit vs. Boston: 
1.0
January 1 – NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia: 2.4
January 14 – Chicago vs. Detroit: 1.1
January 22 – Washington vs. Pittsburgh: 1.1
February 12 – Washington vs. NY Rangers: 1.0
February 19 – Regional Coverage (SJ/DET, PIT/BUF, STL/CHI): 1.4
February 19 – Boston vs. Minnesota: 1.0
March 4 – Boston vs. NY Rangers: 1.0
March 11 – Boston vs. Pittsburgh: 0.8
Average: 1.1

NHL On NBC Overnights For 2010-11 Season
January 1 – Washington vs. Pittsburgh: 
2.8
January 23 – Philadelphia vs. Chicago:
 1.1
February 6 – Pittsburgh vs. Washington: 
1.0
February 13 – Boston vs. Detroit: 
0.9
February 20 – Regional Coverage (PHI/NYR, WSH/BUF, DET/MIN): 
1.2
February 20 – Pittsburgh vs. Chicago*: 
1.2
March 6 – Philadelphia vs. NY Rangers: 0.9
March 13 – Chicago vs. Washington: 0.9
March 20 – NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh: 0.7
April 3 – NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia: 1.0
April 10 – Detroit vs. Chicago: 1.1
Season Average: 1.1

Your NHL National TV Schedule for the Week of March 12

Monday, March 12

Montreal vs. Buffalo, 7:00 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
 Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Darren Pang 

Anaheim vs. Colorado, 9:00 p.m. ET, NBCSp
Play by Play: John Ahlers
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

San Jose vs. Edmonton, 9:30 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
 Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro 

Tuesday, March 13

Carolina vs. NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSp
Play by Play: Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

San Jose vs. Calgary, 9:30 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
 Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro 

Wednesday, March 14

Colorado vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSp/TSN2
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Ottawa vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN
Play by Play:
 Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Mike Johnson 

Thursday, March 15

Pittsburgh vs. NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSp/TSN2

Friday, March 16

Montreal vs. Ottawa, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Elliotte Friedman

Saturday, March 17

Philadelphia vs. Boston, 1:00 p.m. ET, NHL Network

NY Islanders vs. Montreal, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
 Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Reporter: Bruce Rainnie 

Toronto vs. Ottawa, 7:00 p.m. ET, CBC/NHL Network
Play by Play:
 Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Reporter: Cassie Campbell 

Columbus vs. Vancouver, 10:00 p.m. ET, CBC
Play by Play:
 Mark Lee
Color: Kevin Weekes
Reporter: Scott Oake

Detroit vs. San Jose, 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSp
Play by Play: Randy Hahn
Color: Drew Remenda
Inside the Glass: Bret Hedican

Sunday, March 18

Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC/TSN2
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Washington vs. Chicago, 7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSp
Play by Play:
 Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom