SBD/June 4, 2014/Media

Stanley Cup Final Could Set Records For NBC, But Potential Was There For Higher Numbers

NBC execs hope ratings benefit from the Belmont Stakes airing just prior to Game 2

Horizon Media Research Dir Brad Adgate said that ratings for the upcoming Rangers-Kings Stanley Cup Final "have the potential to set a new record" for NBC, according to Liana Baker of REUTERS. Adgate said, "I think the ratings will be pretty strong, the best since NBC began covering the NHL in 2005." Baker wrote the league "looks healthy and its momentum is likely to build." NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said advertising inventory for the series is "pretty much all gone." He added that ratings for Game 2 on Saturday "should benefit" from the running of the Belmont Stakes on NBC just prior to the contest (REUTERS, 6/3). USA TODAY's Moore & Allen note NHL execs are "happy about the matchup," but other teams "would deliver higher TV ratings." NHL COO John Collins said, "It's a fun series no matter what. You have the media capital of the world and the entertainment capital of the world. These moments are exactly what we have been building for the last six or seven years, trying to make hockey big enough to pull in the casual fan." He added, "It's probably not going to be the highest-rated Cup in our history. But you can't pick your teams. It's a matchup any league would be thrilled with" (USA TODAY, 6/4).

NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL AUDIENCE TREND (NBC/NBCSN)
YEAR
MATCHUP
GAMES
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'13
Blackhawks-Bruins
6
3.3
5,764
'12
Kings-Devils
6
1.8
3,012
'11
Bruins-Canucks
7
2.7
4,590
'10
Blackhawks-Flyers
6
2.9
5,170
'09
Penguins-Red Wings
7
2.7
4,906
'08
Red Wings-Penguins
6
2.6
4,555
'07
Ducks-Senators
5
1.2
1,800
'06
Hurricanes-Oilers
7
1.8
2,831
         

WISHFUL THINKING: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes if the Blackhawks had "not lost to the Kings in the Western Conference finals," a Blackhawks-Rangers series "might have produced record viewership." The Blackhawks and Bruins "led the league" in local viewership this season, respectively, while the Rangers ranked third and the Kings "were far lower" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/4). The AP's Tim Dahlberg writes despite the matchup of the two biggest markets in the U.S., NBC execs "had to be rooting" for the Blackhawks to advance instead of the Kings. Sunday's Western Conference Game 7 was the most watched non-Stanley Cup Final ever, but "a lot more of those were Blackhawks fans than Kings fans." Dahlberg: "The Big Apple and Hollywood don't have any championship history in hockey, but there's some buzz on both coasts for the first New York-Los Angeles major sports final" since '81 (AP, 6/3).

TALK OF THE TOWN: In N.Y., Stephen Lorenzo writes for the "first time in 20 years, the Rangers are the talk of the town" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/4). Also in N.Y., Filip Bondy writes the histories of the Kings and Rangers "are not glorious." Bondy: "There’s another problem, too: Los Angeles and New York may be the biggest markets around, but they aren’t exactly archrivals" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/4). Meanwhile, the N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Bob Raissman writes this is a "huge spot" for NBC. But there will be "a bunch of casual eyeballs tuning in," and the NBC crew has the "added challenge of making sure it knows what’s going on without dumbing down the telecast for the hard-core fans." NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk is "aware of the increased spotlight but doesn’t adjust his game." He said, “I just continue to do the job I’m allowed to do on a nightly basis. I talk about the game and tell people why. In a series like this it’s more about excitement than anything else" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/4).

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