NHL sees huge success in 2010 Stanley Cup Finals
When the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on 9th June, it not only gave Chicago its first championship since 1961, but it also gave US network NBC its best overnight ratings for any Stanley Cup Final since 1974.
Game six between the Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers, in which the Blackhawks won the Cup, registered 8.28 million viewers and a 5.8 rating/12 share, up 41 percent from last year’s game six between Detroit and Pittsburgh, and more than quadrupling the 1.1 rating for game three of the Ottawa Senators-Anaheim Ducks series in 2007. The other games in this year’s series averaged 6.1 million viewers, the best showing for the Stanley Cup finals in 13 years.
In addition to the TV ratings, owners reported revenue increases in the 10-15 per cent range in comparison to the 2009 Playoffs, making it the largest increase in the post-lockout era. Merchandise sales also rose 22 percent during the playoffs.
“This has been a special year for hockey beginning with the Winter Classic continuing through the Olympics and ending with this incredibly exciting Stanley Cup final,” NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said. “NBC Sports is honoured to have been a part of it. The players of these two proud franchises in these major markets brought an intensity to the series that contributed to this record viewership.”
The timing is perfect for the NHL, since its current television deals with NBC and Versus expire after next season. Versus is currently available in 75.1 million households, while ESPN – thought likely to bid for the rights – is in 99.5 million homes. Versus, however, is likely to offer more money. The current Versus deal is believed to be worth some US$72.5 million per season; NBC’s deal is a revenue-sharing agreement with the NHL with no direct rights fee involved.
“The sure thing would be to take whatever money you get from ESPN; they add some credibility and legitimacy,” said Rick Dudley, an NHL Enterprises president for five years, now president and CEO of Octagon. “If they want to make a bet, go with Versus and hope you’ll be an important part of something they are building, which will also be big and important. As we speak today, though, they have a long way to go before they are ESPN.”
The NHL is expanding the number of events on its calendar, including plans for two outdoor hockey games next season, as well as a season-launching event in Toronto.
Next season, the NHL will try and keep the momentum that it built with the 2010 Playoffs by pushing its new technologies, such as a mobile application with Verizon Wireless that launched late in the season.blog comments powered by Disqus
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