SBD/June 7, 2012/Media

NBC Sports Net Sees Audience Drop For Its Two Stanley Cup Final Telecasts

Kings-Devils Down on NBC Sports Net compared to Bruins-Canucks

NBC Sports Network earned a 1.4 overnight Nielsen rating for last night’s Devils-Kings NHL Stanley Cup Final Game Four, down 13% from the same game in the Bruins-Canucks series last year. The game went up against TNT’s series-clinching Thunder-Spurs NBA Western Conference Finals Game Six, which earned a 7.1 overnight. Devils-Kings earned a 6.6 local rating in L.A., which is the highest local rating ever in the market for an NHL game on NBCSN. The game also led NBCSN to the No. 1 primetime ranking in L.A. for the night. N.Y. earned a 2.9 local rating for the game. Meanwhile, NBCSN’s Devils-Kings Game Three averaged 1.743 million viewers, down 37% from 2.757 million viewers for the comparable Bruins-Canucks game last year (THE DAILY).

STRATEGIC PLANNING: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir asks, "Why has [NBC Sports Network] clung to the two Stanley Cup finals games? ... The strategy is clear. If NBCSN is to move beyond its current 80 million subscribers -- at least 20 million fewer than ESPN or ESPN2 -- and increase its subscriber fees, it needs programming to justify those goals." The net has to "persuade any recalcitrant cable systems, satellite operators and telephone companies to put NBCSN on the broadest possible digital tiers to expand its audience." Olympic programming "will be on NBCSN, and any major sports properties that can be acquired (MLB or a future NFL package) will be used to seek more subscribers and higher revenue." But a little thought "has to go into finding NBCSN, which does not get a lot of respect, a remnant of contracts it signed when it was primarily a hunting and fishing channel." Comcast, which controls NBC, "naturally keeps NBCSN in a comfortable niche far from sports-channel Siberia" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/7).

HOMETOWN HERO
: ESPN L.A.'s Ramona Shelburne noted Kings TV announcer Miller has been "the Kings' man for better or for worse." And like all "great broadcasters who stay with one franchise long enough to become a part of its soul, nothing much feels real unless he's on the call." Miller said, "I don't really like to do games where I'm not involved in who wins. I've done a few with ABC and ESPN where you're doing St. Louis and Chicago and you've got nothing invested in the outcome. I don't like that. I want to be involved. Yes, you have valleys and peaks, you have wins and losses, but you're involved in it. Being with one team, doing that one team's games, it always meant more to me." Miller said he is "proud of longevity with one organization." Miller: "I'm really proud to say 39 years and next year 40 years with the same team" (ESPNLA.com, 6/6). In L.A., Helene Elliott noted Miller's and Jim Fox' call of yesterday's Game Four was "piped throughout the arena at concession stands and in restrooms." It will be "recorded for possible future use on the team’s website or a commemorative DVD" (LATIMES.com, 6/6).
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