SBD/Issue 9/Sports Media

HBO To Air Capitals-Penguins "24/7" Series Ahead Of Winter Classic

Crosby (l) And Ovechkin Likely To Receive
Heavy Dose Of Exposure On HBO Series

HBO Sports plans to produce its "24/7" series around the Capitals-Penguins rivalry this winter. The network will debut the four-episode series on Dec. 15 at 10:00pm ET and will air the "24/7" episodes in the run-up to the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which will feature the two teams playing on New Year's Day at Heinz Field. NBC holds the rights to that game. The series, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at athletes as they prepare for an event, made its name originally in the boxing world. Earlier this year, HBO produced a "24/7" series around NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, which it ran in the lead-up to the Daytona 500 (John Ourand, THE DAILY). In Pittsburgh, Seth Rorabaugh reports much like HBO's "Hard Knocks," the series "will have players wearing microphones on and off the ice and would offer an uncensored look at the Penguins and Capitals leading up to" the Winter Classic. The Dec. 23 Penguins-Capitals game is "expected to be one of the main focuses" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/23). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski wrote, "Despite some palpable Sid vs. Ovie fatigue amongst hockey fans, this is exactly why you book the Capitals and Penguins in the Classic: To create a pop culture phenomenon." Moving the event from Wrigley Field to Fenway Park in '10 was a "lateral move," whereas this is a "blockbuster, to the point where HBO finds it compelling enough to build sports programming around it." Wyshynski: "Hopefully ... this series will offer the warts-and-all access that 'Hard Knocks' has perfected in covering teams like the New York Jets. The intensity of this rivalry, and the personalities on both sides of it, demand that presentation" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/22).

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