NBCSN Sets New Network, NHL Audience Records With Kings-Blackhawks Game 7
NBCSN finished with 4.137 million viewers for the Kings’ OT win over the Blackhawks in Game 7 of the NHL Western Conference Finals on Sunday night, marking the most-viewed non-Stanley Cup Final playoff game on record for the NHL. Kings-Blackhawks Game 7 also marked NBCSN’s best NHL game ever and best non-Olympic audience ever. The previous high for a non-Stanley Cup Final telecast was ESPN’s Panthers-Penguins Eastern Conference Finals Game 7 in ’96, which drew 4.094 million viewers. NBCSN’s previous high for an NHL broadcast was Blackhawks-Bruins Stanley Cup Final Game 3 last year, which drew 4.001 million viewers. Game 7 on Sunday night also passed NBCSN’s 4.10 million viewers for the U.S.-Russia hockey match during the Sochi Games. For all Conference Finals telecasts this season (including the six-game Rangers-Canadiens Eastern Conference Finals), NBC/NBCSN averaged 2.05 million viewers, down 23% from 2.65 million viewers last season, which saw the Bruins sweep the Penguins and the Blackhawks beat the Kings in five games. Despite the drop for the Conference Finals, NBC Sports Group is averaging 1.19 million viewers for 86 playoff games across NBC/NBCSN/CNBC to date, up 11% from 1.07 million viewers for the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year. This year's 1.19 million viewers is the best average since Fox/ESPN/ESPN2 were averaging 1.24 million viewers in '97 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
EAST MEETS WEST: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Mike Barnes noted teams from N.Y. and L.A. -- the "top two TV markets" in the U.S. -- have not met in a championship since the '81 World Series between the Dodgers and Yankees. Kings RW Justin Williams: "We want to put L.A. on the map, and put it significantly on the map with regards to hockey." Rangers-Kings Stanley Cup Final Game 1 is tomorrow at Staples Center (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/1).
THIS IS OURSELVES: AD AGE's Michael McCarthy reported NBC's upcoming Stanley Cup promo spots will "continue to use the Freddie Mercury/David Bowie vocals" from the a-capella version of the '81 classic rock song, "Under Pressure." NBC has already employed the song in spots "to drive tune-in" for the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. NBC Sports "started working on new 'Pressure' spots" as soon as the Rangers defeated the Canadiens in the Eastern Conference final. The net's in-house marketing department is "creating the campaign," the idea for which was a "collaboration" between NBC Sports Group Senior VP/Marketing Bill Bergofin, Dir of On-Air Promo Ray Worsdale, On-Air Promo Producer Ryan Watson and Editor Mike Gazzara. Rather than "focusing on bone-jarring checks or painted, screaming fans, NBC chose to focus on the intense pressure felt by players as they strive for the most hallowed trophy in sports" (ADAGE.com, 5/31). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Bob Raissman referred to NBC play-by-play announcer Doc Emrick as a "virtuoso performer." Emrick's "priorities are simple," as he "reports what’s unfolding in front of him, voicing calls so dramatic that they are mesmerizing" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/1).