NBC earned a 5.6 overnight rating for the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-clinching win over the Bruins in Game 6 of the Final, up 40% from a 4.0 rating for the series-clinching Kings-Devils Game 6 last year and up 44% from a 3.9 overnight for Bruins-Canucks Game 6 in ’11 (both aired on a Monday night). Last night's telecast is expected to deliver NBC a win in primetime, with Game 6 expected to be the highest-rated program of the evening. The net had competition from the premiere episode of CBS' "Under the Dome." Game 6 earned a 30.2 local rating in Chicago and a 33.0 rating in Boston (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). USA TODAY's Reid Cherner writes, "When you get two of the Original Six in the Stanley Cup Final, you can only hope the series is competitive." The Bruins and Blackhawks "have complied; fans and the network have been rewarded" (USA TODAY, 6/25).
STANLEY CUP-CLINCHING GAME OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND
With longtime Redskins broadcaster Sam Huff retiring, the team's radio booth in '13 will feature two men, Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen, with former NFLer Rick "Doc" Walker "on the sidelines but with an open mic, allowing him to speak at any point during the broadcast," according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. Jurgensen traditionally has been the "lead analyst for offensive matters, while Huff has been the first voice on defense." But Red Zebra Broadcasting VP/Programming Chuck Sapienza, whose company owns flagship station ESPN Radio 980 DC, said that any "future contributors wouldn’t have to come from a particular side of the ball." Sapienza said, “I don’t think that matters, to be honest with you. A player’s a player. Sonny knows more about defense than most defensive players. No player can read a defense like Sonny Jurgensen. So it’s not imperative to get a defensive player.” Sapienza said that a traditional three-man booth "could yet happen in the future." Sapienza: “It just depends who’s available, and how they fit in. We have the flexibility, and money wouldn’t be an issue" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/24). In DC, Rich Campbell noted how or if the Redskins Radio Network will replace Huff is "not certain." ESPN 980 "faces some decisions about how to staff the booth on game day." Campbell: "The most intriguing possibility, in my opinion, is adding tight end Chris Cooley to continue the three-man booth." Cooley is a "fan favorite and an entertaining personality." He has been "offered other media gigs in the past, though, so we must wait to see how he wants to direct his life after his playing career" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 6/24). Pro Football HOFer Joe Theismann said of possibly joining the radio team, "I certainly would have interest if the opportunity was presented. I mean, I've done everything you can do in the media, including radio" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/24).
NBA Digital said it generated new traffic records for the league web site during the '13 Finals. NBA.com generated 646 million page views during the Heat-Spurs series, up 57% compared to last year, and 434 million video streams, up 120% from a year ago. Similarly, NBA Mobile garnered 138 million page views, up 91%, and 4.5 million video streams, up 126%. On Twitter, the Finals generated 26.7 million tweets and nearly 300 trending topics, and each of the seven games represented the most commented-upon TV program of the night. Game 7 in particular accounted for 86% of all tweets related to TV programming and 70 trending topics.
Pro athletes are "beginning to flock to" St. Louis-based social sports media site LockerDome, "using the platform to connect to the growing base of 18-34-year-old sports fans," according to Jon Friedman of ADWEEK. LockerDome gives athletes "a direct line to the sports fan." Beverly Hills Sports Council PR Dir Paul Kuo said, "With LockerDome, we can disseminate news and updates about a player along with off-the-field news. We can control the message as a player looks for endorsements and appearance fees. Social media brings an added value to our marketing effort." LockerDome in addition to athletes "offers a platform for teams and sports-related brands and media personalities to bolster their social-media presence." The website "boasts an average of 14 million unique visitors every month, with a 92 percent return rate by users." LockerDome said that it "expects to smash through to 25 million uniques by the end of this year." The site "seems well on its way to that goal -- its uniques doubled during February and March." The site next "plans to take its social strategy and apply it to other topics outside of athletics." The company "sees itself as having an especially strong pitch to Madison Avenue, given that more than 65 percent of its audience is 18-34 and 87 percent is male." The site already has "built a roster of some 150 clients, from endemics like Rawlings to QSRs such as Hardee’s." LockerDome was "founded as a site devoted primarily to youth athletics" and "made only marginal progress in its first few years, signing up fewer than 100,000 monthly users." But co-Founder & CEO Gabe Lozano "revamped LockerDome as a pro sports site." He has "raised about $8 million from investors since the inception of LockerDome." Considering its "quick growth, some might wonder whether Wall Street will eventually come calling." Lozano "resists the urge to think about going public -- for the time being" (ADWEEK.com, 6/25).
The MLS Timbers yesterday announced Christian Miles will serve as the team's TV play-by-play announcer for the remainder of the '13 season. Miles, a Portland native, will begin calling Timbers games on July 7. Timbers analyst Robbie Earle will remain in the booth while also contributing to NBC Sports Network's MLS coverage (Timbers). NBCSN hired former Timbers broadcaster John Strong to handle play-by-play duties for the net's MLS coverage (THE DAILY).
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES? In Atlanta, Ken Sugiura reports Georgia Tech and WQXI-AM yesterday "ended their arrangement that had made the sports-talk station the Yellow Jackets’ AM flagship station" since '01. The school and the station "had a year remaining on their contract but will dissolve the relationship" that called on WQXI, known as 790 The Zone, to "carry football and men’s basketball games as well as coaches’ shows." All-news station WYAY-FM, which "has been Tech’s FM home since 2008, will become the Jackets’ sole flagship." Georgia Tech Associate AD/PR Wayne Hogan said that the perception that WQXI hosts have been critical of the school's football team "was not a factor" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/25).
MULTIPLE COVERAGES: In N.Y., Stuart Elliot noted in an "effort to woo readers," magazines including SI are "being published with two, three, four or more front covers." Time Inc. Sports Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum "plans to run multiple front covers on the coming issue" of SI on the '13-14 NFL season. Fichtenbaum said, "Part of our job is to entertain people. And it’s an opportunity for us to be really creative. You want to take that chance any time you can" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/24).
WRITE STUFF: ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel writes the MAC "is offering" fans the chance to attend the conference's football media day next month. Fans from each school "may apply to cover their beloved, and the MAC will approve the questions for the head coach before they are asked." The MAC is "trying to market itself to the public." Maisel: "If I’m the league, and I don’t feel like I’m getting enough attention, then I do what I have to do to connect to MAC fans. Bravo" (ESPN.com, 6/25).