SBD/November 28, 2011/Media

NBC Earns 1.0 Overnight Rating For Red Wings-Bruins Black Friday Game

NBC hopes to make Black Friday NHL game a regular happening
NBC earned a 1.0 overnight Nielsen rating for its coverage of Red Wings-Bruins Friday afternoon, the net's first NHL broadcast on Black Friday (THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes the rating is "almost what NBC averages for NHL regular-season games." The broadcast was "an attempt to expand NHL TV interest before NBC TV games start in January" (USA TODAY, 11/28). NBC Sports and Versus Exec Producer Sam Flood said NBC wants to make playing an NHL game on Black Friday a "national tradition." Flood: "It really is a wonderful way to showcase the NHL. It’s our way of getting people to take a break from their shopping, to enjoy a malt beverage or two, and watch a matchup of Original Six teams. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?" Versus' Mike Milbury said, "Football, the NFL, owns Thanksgiving, and I don’t know why we can’t own the next day. You have sort of a captive audience on that Friday." The game featured a microphone on referee Kelly Sutherland. In Boston, Chad Finn noted NBC "promoted the game nearly to the extent it does the Winter Classic" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/25).

EAST COAST BIAS? In Denver, Adrian Dater wrote he is "starting to go along with some of the many who believe the NHL doesn't care enough about its Western Conference teams when it comes to marketing and television exposure." Dater asked, "Why is it that every single nationally televised game, or so it seems, has to feature an Eastern Conference team?" Last season, there "was just one NBC Sunday game of the week that featured two Western Conference teams -- Detroit vs. Chicago." This season, there is "only one such game scheduled and, you guessed it, it's Chicago vs. Detroit on Jan. 14." There has "been one all-Western Winter Classic before." Dater: "Anyone want to take a guess what the two teams were?" Dater continued, "I understand why Eastern teams get on national TV more. The league's two most marketable players -- [Penguins C] Sidney Crosby and [Capitals LW] Alex Ovechkin -- play in the East. NBC is based in New York, and so primarily is the NHL's head office. ... But come on, would a San Jose-Los Angeles or L.A.-Anaheim game really draw much poorer ratings than, say, Boston-Rangers or Philly-Washington?" (DENVER POST, 11/27).
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