SBD/February 24, 2011/Media

NHL Looking To Integrate Rights Packages In Both U.S. And Europe

NHL considering global initiative that could include World Cup-like tournament
The NHL is "looking to integrate its rights packages this year in both the U.S. and Europe," which "will allow use of highlights across all platforms," according to Bruce Dowbiggin of the GLOBE & MAIL. Fans can "expect an announcement by this spring on both" rights packages. NHL COO John Collins: "The NFL is so advanced that it can slice off tiny slivers of its rights package for great sums of money. We're not there yet. But integrating our rights holders gives us a chance to package our product in new and exciting ways for fans." Collins also "emphasized that a global initiative is in the league's plans." Collins: "We're definitely talking about how the best (club) teams from the European leagues play the best in North America, like in the soccer model. A World Cup where the best national teams have a chance to compete. It's all part of how we'll drive the business across all our (media) platforms. With a third of our players coming from (Europe) it's a great opportunity" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/24).

RECORD NUMBERS
: NBC drew 1.9 million viewers for Penguins-Blackhawks on Sunday, marking the most-watched non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game since January '06. Meanwhile, Versus averaged 608,000 viewers for Sunday's Canadiens-Flames Heritage Classic, making it the fifth most-watched NHL regular-season game in the network's history. The Heritage Classic also ranked as the most-watched regular-season game between two Canadian teams on cable since NHL viewership became available in the '93-94 season. Versus also averaged 681,000 viewers for the Penguins-Capitals telecast on Monday, marking the net's third most-viewed NHL regular-season game ever (THE DAILY).
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