SBD/February 17, 2014/Olympics

U.S.-Russia Marks Record NBCSN Hockey Audience, Second-Best Olympic Stream

U.S.-Russia match topped any of NBCSN's Stanley Cup Final telecasts
The U.S. men’s hockey team continued to pay dividends for NBCSN, as Saturday's U.S.-Russia matchup drew a record audience for any hockey game on the net. The 4.1 million viewers for the game, which was played from 7:30-10:30am ET, outpaced the 4.0 million viewers for last year's Blackhawks-Bruins Stanley Cup Final Game 3. U.S.-Russia peaked at 6.4 million viewers during the 10:00-10:30am window, when the game went into an eight-round shootout. That figure marked the most-viewed 30-minute window in NBCSN history. The net also averaged 2.9 million viewers for its daytime window, marking a record for that 6:00am-3:00pm window. Meanwhile, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app saw 589,552 unique streams for U.S.-Russia, marking a record for any hockey game stream in NBC history (NHL or Olympics). The figure passed previous hockey marks set during the '10 Vancouver Games and the ‘13 Stanley Cup Final. U.S.-Russia also marked the second-best NBC Olympics stream ever (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

AMERICAN HUSTLE: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes as "great as the game was," the broadcast "was better." NBC's Mike Emrick, Ed Olczyk and Pierre McGuire "were outstanding, especially Emrick." Jones: "Go back and watch his work during the eight-round shootout. It was masterful, particularly when he got out of the way to let Olczyk and McGuire do their jobs." Meanwhile, NBC was "all over the controversy" when a potential go-ahead goal by Russia late in the third period was "waived off." NBC "went through the replays" and showed the puck neither hit the crossbar and failed to go in the net, nor was it deflected by a high stick. Jones: "Someone sharp in the NBC production truck noticed the goal had become dislodged from its moorings. That is why the goal was disallowed. That's top-notch hustle" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/17). The AP's David Bauder wrote there seems to be nothing Emrick "doesn’t know and can’t fit effortlessly into the call of a game." When the Russian crowd "began chanting during the home team’s game with the U.S., Emrick quickly said that what they were saying, roughly translated, meant 'Go get the puck.'" Meanwhile, when Olczyk suggested that U.S. C Ryan Kesler’s hand was "badly swollen barely five minutes after it was hit by the puck -- even though Kesler wore a glove -- Emrick cautioned, 'we won’t diagnose that.'" Kesler "quickly returned to the game" (AP, 2/15). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes Emrick "remains a national treasure, as special as special gets." He provided a "perfect topping to the Americans' extended shootout win." Emrick said during the broadcast, "So many paid their rubles to see the home team win. But not this game. Not tonight." Mushnick notes the words "Not this game. Not tonight" were coach Herb Brooks' "pregame words to Team USA before its unfathomable win against the U.S.S.R." at the '80 Lake Placid Games (N.Y. POST, 2/17).

HEIDI MOMENT: CBSSPORTS.com's Chris Peters reported S.F.-based KNBR-AM "cut off the game in overtime for the 'Hooked on Golf' Show." Listeners "missed the overtime and the incredible eight-round shootout in which T.J. Oshie scored on four of six attempts." They also missed Steve Goldstein's radio call of, "Oshie can you see" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/15). In S.F., Ron Kroichick wrote it "seemed strange -- downright crazy? -- when KNBR cut away" from the game broadcast. This was "Olympic hockey, after all, and not exactly Sweden vs. Finland" (SFGATE.com, 2/15).

MAN OF THE HOUR: On Long Island, Nick Klopsis reported the game was "a popular event on Twitter, with nearly a million tweets being sent out about the game in a four-and-a-half hour span." There were "more than 900,000 tweets about the game" from 7:30am-12:00pm. Oshie had "more than 136,000 mentions during that same timespan from fans, fellow athletes and celebrities." Twitter indicated that by noon, Oshie had "gained 45,000 new followers" and the number "has only risen since then." Even President Obama "got in on the congratulations" by mentioning Oshie in a tweet (NEWSDAY, 2/16). In St. Louis, Jeremy Rutherford noted Oshie's name was "trending on Twitter and his personal followers increased by more than 100,000" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/16). NBC's Willie Geist: "It has been Oshie-mania online for the last 48 hours" ("Today," NBC, 2/17).
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