SBD/Issue 142/Sports Media

NHL Ratings Up For NBC Regular Season, RSN Playoff Coverage

MSG Earns Highest-Rated Hockey Telecast
Since '04 With Devils-Rangers Game Three
NBC averaged a 1.0 Nielsen rating for its 10 telecasts this regular season, up from a 0.9 rating last season for nine telecasts. For complete NHL regular-season ratings, see today's Back of the Book.

PLAYOFFS RATINGS: MSG earned a 2.61 HH rating for the Sunday night's Game Three of the Devils-Rangers NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinals, making it the net's highest-rated hockey telecast since the '04-05 lockout. Combined with a 0.63 HH rating on MSG Plus, which showed the same game using the Devils announce team, and the rating hits 3.24. Rangers-Devils Game One earned a 2.3 HH rating on MSG, with MSG Plus delivering a 0.53 HH rating for a combined 2.83 HH rating. Meanwhile, CSN Philadelphia's coverage of Flyers-Capitals Game One averaged a 3.4 HH rating (101,076 HHs), a 54.5% increase over the regular-season average of 2.2 (THE DAILY). French-language RDS Saturday had its largest audience ever for Bruins-Canadiens Game Two with 1.736 million viewers, while the CBC drew 1.541 million viewers for the English version of the same game, combining for a total of 3.277 million viewers (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/15).

NO BULL: In Philadelphia, Paul Vigna reports some Philadelphia-area viewers missed Rangers-Devils Game Three on Versus, with those viewers receiving a PBR broadcast instead. Versus Dir of PR Meier Raivich: "The feed actually ran in its entirety on the Versus Network, but it looks like it was blacked out in a couple areas, and we're looking into it to make sure that it doesn't happen again." Raivich "couldn't say exactly what areas of the region were blacked out." Raivich: "We're still actually ... trying to figure out what happened. But we're putting all these things in place so that no one is inconvenienced again" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 4/15).

SLIP OF THE TONGUE: Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis in his blog noted NBC's Mike Milbury called his team the "Crapitals" twice during the net's Sunday broadcast of Flyers-Capitals Game Two. Leonsis contacted Milbury through NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and spoke to the analyst Sunday night. Leonsis: "Mike calmly explained that he meant no harm. He had a slip of the tongue when trying to start a commentary about our play. He meant to say the Washington Caps but instead he said the Washington Craps. ... He formally apologized to me and he wanted me to convey his apology to our community. ... I have accepted his apology and believe we should all move on" (TED.AOL.com, 4/14).

NOT PLAYING NICE? CABLEFAX DAILY noted the NHL, which last week launched NHL Network Online and has "seized control of all team Web sites and the lion's share of league-related digital rights," has "angered some media partners and left others waiting to see which way the digital puck will slide." NHL Senior VP/Media Sales Larry Gelfand said that the content from NHL Net Online will be "'transitioned to all team sites' in an effort to enhance local sales/marketing opportunities for RSNs and other media partners." But the plans "aren't yet set in ice, causing unrest among certain cable teammates" such as MSG, which has an antitrust suit "pending against the league over the control" of the Rangers' site (CABLEFAX DAILY, 4/14).

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