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SBD/October 6, 2011/NHL Season Preview
NBC Hopes To Continue Ratings Gains As It Kicks Off New 10-Year Deal With NHL
Published October 6, 2011
BIGGER AND BETTER: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Etan Vlessing noted the NHL on NBC also is "getting more Canadian, with Canuck hockey analyst Pierre McGuire now working exclusively on NBC and Versus telecasts, alongside American on-air talent Eddie Olczyk, Mike Milbury, and Mike 'Doc' Emrik." Those commentators also will "start showing up on the NHL Network, as part of the new NHL-NBC relationship." NHL COO John Collins said of the NBC and Versus telecasts, "We'll look better, we'll look bigger, and have more bells and whistles and more story-telling" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/5). Meanwhile, VARIETY’s McLean writes digital offerings “such as video content on NHL.com, the online game-streaming subscription service ‘NHL GameCenter Live’ and mobile content have all grown rapidly.” NHL.com reports that average monthly unique viewers “grew 30% in 2010-11 over the previous season, while subs to ‘GameCenter’ rose 37%” (VARIETY.com, 10/6).
FOREIGN CURRENCY: YAHOO SPORTS’ Greg Wyshynski wrote fans in Europe "won’t have the NHL available on television when the puck drops this week." The NHL’s contract with ESPN America “ended after last season, and the League sought to expand and rethink its television coverage in Europe.” It signed a “five-year deal with Medge Consulting and its partner Advisers Media International (AMI) to represent the international media rights for the NHL in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.” This third party “is trying to cut a dozen deals at the same time, their asking price buoyed by increased competition for the rights and the popularity of the product." Wyshynski noted, “This has made some television providers cringe” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/4). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Fred Dreier examined the NHL's overseas strategy under the header, "A Goal To Reach Europe" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/26 issue).
ON THE TUBE: CABLEFAX DAILY noted that the NHL Network “is no longer carried by AT&T U-verse TV, the victim of weekend darkness after the telco said it tried but was unable to reach a fair, long-term deal with the net it had delivered to U450 and sports tier subs.” Meanwhile, In Demand and the NHL “are offering an 18-day free preview of out-of-market games package 'NHL Center Ice' from Oct 6-23 via at least 9 multichannel ops including all the big cable MSOs” (CABLEFAX DAILY, 10/5).