Bruins-Penguins Opener Marks NBC's Best Overnight For NHL Conference Final Game
NBC earned a 2.5 overnight Nielsen rating for Game 1 of the Bruins-Penguins series Saturday night, marking the net's best overnight on record for an NHL Conference Final telecast. That overnight is up from a 1.3 for the comparable Devils-Rangers Game 1 last year, which aired on a Saturday afternoon. Saturday night's game earned a 19.6 local rating in Boston, setting a record in the market for a non-Stanley Cup Final game on NBC. The game also drew a 23.2 local rating in Pittsburgh (THE DAILY). In Ohio, George Thomas wrote NHL execs "probably are breathing a sigh of relief this week because apparently their lockout of 2012-13 didn't do much damage to the sport with fans." But the reality is that "even with that ratings mark, hockey remains a secondary choice during a time of year when the NHL and NBA both are playing their postseasons" (OHIO.com, 5/31).
LET THE GAMES BEGIN: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Mickle & Botta report the NHL has "secured initial approval from Olympic broadcast rights holders CBC and NBC for access to players for the NHL Network at hockey venues" during the '14 Sochi Games. Sources said that the league is "expected to receive the same approvals" from the IOC and IIHF. The NHL Network also will "receive limited Olympic content, under the tentative agreement with NBC and CBC." Sources said the content could be "highlights, interviews or other footage collected by the broadcasters." Access for the NHL Network was "one of the changes the league has been seeking from the IOC and IIHF before agreeing to send its players back to the Olympics" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/3 issue).
THE TORTS REPORT: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote if John Tortorella, who last week was fired after five years as Rangers head coach, "does not receive an offer to coach next season, and he decides a TV job is his best bridge to another coaching gig, his condescending, foul-mouthed style would be a consideration for any prospective employer." But a source said that the "prevailing feeling is he will be back coaching during the 2013-14 season." Raissman wrote there may be "some reluctance" for TV execs to hire Tortorella, as it would be "a controversial hire." The case could be made that a "national media outlet airing hockey, or regional sports network for that matter, should not hire a guy who treated the media like dirt" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/2). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes Tortorella would be "a perfect fit at the NHL Network, which desperately needs a studio analyst with an edge." But he "might be wasted there." It would be "great if NBC hired him as a studio analyst." But networks might be "leery of putting their efforts into making him part of their broadcast only to lose him halfway through a season" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 6/3).