Luring Stanley Cup Viewers With a Torrent of Games
By TANZINA VEGA
Published: March 14, 2012
TURNING the Stanley Cup playoffs into a must-watch television event lasting for weeks in the spring is no easy feat. Many Americans did not grow up with the game, few know who the players are and watching 10 weeks of playoffs is a big time commitment.
But the National Hockey League’s plan to get more viewers is, in fact, to show more games. This year, for the first time, the league will televise every game of the playoffs, which begin April 11 and could last up to 10 weeks, with the last possible day for the final game on June 15. The N.H.L. renewed its media partnership with NBC last year after the company was bought by Comcast, and can now offer programming across multiple platforms including NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC and the NHL Network.
“We’ve spent the last five years talking about building national scale,” said John Collins, the chief operating officer of the N.H.L. “If you can’t get the games on national television, you’re not going to be able to relate to it.”
The league seems to be learning from the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s basketball strategy. In 2010, the N.C.A.A. reached a 14-year deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting to show the games across multiple networks including CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV — effectively allowing first- and second-round games to be shown nationwide. Before the pact, early-round games were shown only in certain regions — Michigan State fans could watch their team on television but might not have been able to watch, say, Gonzaga or Georgetown.
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Edited by Jersey Wing, 15 March 2012 - 05:23 AM.