SBD/Issue 175/Sports Media

NBC Earns 2.0 Overnight For Blackhawks' Clincher, Up 33% From '09

NBC Earns 2.0 Overnight Nielsen
Rating For Blackhawks-Sharks Game Four

NBC earned a 2.0 overnight Nielsen rating for yesterday afternoon's Game Four of the NHL Western Conference Finals, which saw the Blackhawks finish off a sweep of the Sharks. The overnight was up 33% from a 1.5 overnight last year for the comparable Red Wings-Blackhawks Game Four, which aired on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday's game earned a 14.1 local rating in Chicago. Meanwhile, Game Four of the Flyers-Canadiens Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday afternoon earned a 1.6 rating. There was no comparison during the same weekend in '09 (THE DAILY). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal reported Versus averaged an 11.52 local rating in the market for its telecast of Friday's Game Three of the Blackhawks-Sharks series. The 11.52 "marks a new cable ratings high for the Hawks" (, 5/23).

HOCKEY DAY: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin noted the 3:00pm ET start times for this past weekend's Flyers-Canadiens and Blackhawks-Sharks games were "requested by NBC." The start times prompted the "usual skirmishes about hockey not working in the U.S.," so Dowbiggin wondered, "Why pander to the indifferent American sports fan?" It costs the CBC "about a million viewers to go in the afternoon," and NBC's "insistence on daylight hockey is costly to CBC, annoying to fans." But Dowbiggin wrote the start times are "hardly fatal to the spirit of the sport" (, 5/23).

PRIME REAL ESTATE: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts noted NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman resolved a "spat" between NBC and the CBC involving their coverage of Flyers-Canadiens Game Four. NBC had "struck a deal" with French-language broadcaster RDS to "take over its spot between the benches for Game 4." Sources said that Bettman "was willing to allow the deal," but the CBC "objected and Bettman had to make a ruling." Bettman ruled that RDS' Joel Bouchard "got the coveted spot between the benches." As a result, the CBC's Glenn Healy broadcasted "from the Zamboni entrance at the Bell Centre on Saturday afternoon instead of his usual perch between the players' benches," and NBC's Pierre McGuire "had to cross the ice during breaks to conduct his in-game interviews" (, 5/22).

PARTY IN THE U.S.A.: The Flyers sit one win away from joining the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, and Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom said he hopes an all-American matchup "sparks more interest … in hockey here in the States." Albom: "You have that Olympic year where the U.S. team couldn't have done anything more except win a Gold Medal to try to spark that kind of interest in this country, and now you got ... a possible American Final." However, he said until fans "can talk about in hockey a Kobe and a Garnett and a Rondo the way you can in basketball, I still seeing the NHL having great games … and everyone goes, 'By the way, who won the Stanley Cup?'" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/23).

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