SBD/Issue 181/Sports Media

Red Wings Not Allowed To Show Game Six Of Cup Finals At Joe Louis

Red Wings Have Shown Away Playoff Games
At Joe Louis Arena For More Than A Decade
The NHL has asked NBC and the CBC "not to allow" the Red Wings to air tonight's Stanley Cup Finals Game Six at Joe Louis Arena, according to sources cited by Shelly Darby of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The Red Wings "for more than a decade ... have showed away games in the playoffs" at the arena as part of what the team calls "Joe Vision." Red Wings Senior VP/Business Affairs Steve Violetta: "Obviously, we're disappointed but we were unable to secure the broadcasting rights to show Game 6." NHL Senior VP/Communications Bernadette Mansur indicated that "one of the league's contractual agreements with NBC is that clubs will not hold viewing parties in their arenas." NBC declined comment (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/9). NHL VP/Media Relations Frank Brown: "We need to be sensitive to the business end of things and that business is ratings driven." In Detroit, Terry Foster notes the Penguins showed Games Three and Four of the Finals "on a giant screen outside Mellon Arena because Versus, which had those rights, gave approval" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/9). CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS' Bill Shea wrote a “near-sellout of Joe Louis could shave a ratings point off the local television ratings measurement, and such ratings are used to establish advertising rates.” Each ratings point “represents 19,270 households in the Detroit market” (CRAINSDETROIT.com, 6/8).

FALLING RATINGS IN CANADA: Penguins-Red Wings Game Five on Saturday averaged 1.612 million viewers on the CBC, marking the "lowest-rated game of the series, and a sharp drop from the 1.929 million viewers" who watched Game Four Thursday on the net. The CBC's broadcast of Game Five in '08, which went to triple overtime, attracted 2.708 million viewers (CP, 6/8). In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich wrote the Finals are "turning out to be a bit of a ratings dog for CBC, with audiences down 15[%] after the first five games," and if the series ends tonight, this "could be one of the least-watched Stanley Cup finals in years." CBC Sports' Scott Moore: "We're slightly mystified and slightly disappointed. Maybe it's a case of been there, done that and Saturday's blowout certainly didn't help. But beyond that we're not really sure what's happening." Moore added that "despite the decrease, the network was meeting its ratings commitment to advertisers." He added that he does not believe the "fact the series started on NBC this year, as opposed to CBC having exclusive rights for Games 1 and 2 in 2008, played any role." Moore noted that the "vast majority of Canadians watch their hockey on Canadian channels." Moore: "NBC really isn't a factor" (THESTAR.com, 6/8).

GET YOUR CLICKER READY: On Long Island, Neil Best writes the "biggest shame" of tonight's sports TV offerings is the "conflict between the NBA and NHL Finals." Best: "Why did the NHL wait three days between Games 5 and 6, with another three-day gap to come if there is a seventh game?" Best writes his "educated guess is that NBC prefers to show low-rated NHL games on Fridays and Saturdays, which are low-priority nights, rather than giving up a midweek night," and by "spreading out the last three games from Saturday to Tuesday to Friday, NBC dedicates only one non-weekend prime time to hockey" (NEWSDAY, 6/9). In Rochester, Bob Matthews writes, “Obviously, the NHL and NBC should’ve done the logical thing and scheduled Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals for Monday. It would’ve had a captive sports audience with the Game 3 of the NBA Finals scheduled for tonight” (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 6/9).

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