SBD/June 19, 2013/Media

Stanley Cup Final Game 3 Sets Another New NHL Viewership Record For NBC Sports Net

Game 3 marked NBCSN's best-ever telecast among adults 18-49 and 25-54
NBC Sports Network averaged a 2.3 U.S. rating and 4.0 million viewers for Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final on Monday from 8:00-10:55pm ET, topping Saturday night's Game 2 as the net's most-viewed NHL game on record and best for any Stanley Cup Final game on cable TV in 11 years. Blackhawks-Bruins Game 3 marks the second-best audience ever on NBCSN, behind only the 4.4 million viewers for the U.S.-Japan Gold Medal women's soccer match from the '12 London Olympics. Monday night's game also marks the net's best telecast ever among adults 18-49 and 25-54. Game 3 peaked with 4.9 million viewers from 9:30-9:45pm. The game earned a 27.2 rating in Boston and a 16.8 rating in Chicago. Three of NBCSN's top five most-viewed NHL games have occurred this season (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS: In Chicago, Ed Sherman notes the Blackhawks are "dominating the discussion on sports talk radio." Hockey has "gone from being viewed as a ratings killer to residing front and center on WSCR and WMVP-AM 1000 for months." The hockey talk is "a huge barometer in showing how the Blackhawks' success goes beyond increased TV ratings." It is a "sign the team has become more mainstream, keeping closer company with the Bears, Bulls, White Sox and Cubs." WMVP co-host Marc Silverman believes that the "Blackhawks bandwagon is much bigger this year than when they won the Stanley Cup in 2010, judging from the response on his afternoon show." Ratings growth in the "coveted youth demographics might be the most significant development." Blackhawks ratings on Comcast SportsNet Chicago were up 110% during the regular season among males 18-34 and up 109% among "men and women combined in that category." WSCR host Dan McNeil said that he is "thrilled to be talking hockey on a regular basis after all these years." However, unlike the "other mainstream sports, he also thinks hockey discussion will wane if the Blackhawks fall off" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/19). Also in Chicago, Phil Rosenthal writes under the subhead, "Team Allegiance Has Turned Media Into Cheerleaders." With the Blackhawks vying for a championship, distinctions "between 'you,' 'they,' and 'us' melt into a puddle of 'we,' with the local media reflecting and ultimately fanning the flames of fandom." Media outlets and those "who work for them are not immune" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/19).

NOT SO SWEET TREATS: In Boston, Erin Smith notes a social media "firestorm erupted online after WEEI radio talk show hosts posted a photo on Facebook and Twitter of a sexually explicit cake they sent rival sports station jockeys in Chicago as the Bruins and Blackhawks battle it out for the Stanley Cup." The cake features "candies shaped like genitalia and WEEI's name and messages scrawled in icing such as, 'Welcome to Boston,' and 'Go Bruins!,' as well as a sexually graphic phrase." Station owner Entercom Boston VP/Programming & Operations Jason Wolfe in an e-mail said, "It was plain old sports radio fun. ... If anyone was offended by the picture we apologize" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/19).

SCHEDULE SHUFFLE: In Houston, David Barron noted some local providers have not updated their program guides for tonight, which has prompted at least a few fans to worry that Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final will be "a no-show" on local KPRC-NBC, as was the case with the recent F1 race from Monte Carlo. But KPRC "indeed will air the hockey game," while the MLS Dynamo-Impact game scheduled for KPRC "will now air on" Comcast SportsNet Houston Plus. KPRC instead will pick up the July 13 game Dynamo-Revolution game, and CSN Houston "has added the July 24 Dynamo Charities Cup game" against EPL club Stoke City (CHRON.com, 6/18).
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