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Can NHL's Dream Playoff Match-ups Boost NBC's Ratings?

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by Jon Friedman
June 1, 2013 5:00 PM
1 Comment
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The National Hockey League should be all smiles as the semi-finals are about to begin, pitting the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings in the west and the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins in the east.

Granted, there is no sign of the No. 1 media market's New York Rangers, who were knocked out in the last round by Boston. But you can't always get what you want.

Still, the semis boast teams from LA and Chicago, two of the biggest TV markets.Boston is no slouch in sports. And Pittsburgh only boasts the best player in the world Sidney Crosby. 

The NHL has it all -- the big-market teams, the supreme attraction in the sport and dream match-ups. If NBC Sports, which is airing the games,and the NHL can't promote these games and draw big ratings, it's their own fault.

It's a mystery to me why more people don't watch the NHL playoffs on TV. There is no better sports spectacle, especially in a playoff overtime game. Even on the tube, a viewer can feel the drama, where one shot can make or break a team's season.

Pundits can point to a matchup between, say the Kings and the San Jose Sharks and say, Who cares? But that series was positively thrilling. The Blackhawks from a three-games-to-one deficit to upend Detroit in a wild series. The final game went into sudden-death OT -- wish you had seen it.

If you want to watch world-class athletes doing their best to make history, check out the NHL playoffs.

There is simply no better sports spectacle than playoff hockey.

Game on.

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1 Comment

  • jean vigo | June 2, 2013 3:13 AMReply

    You're preaching to the choir, here. OK, I'm originally from Boston and was raised on skates, so there is a "little" bias. I've spent so many years of my adult life trying to figure out why the fastest, most thrilling, nail biting team sport on earth hasn't caught on with US viewers. Granted, the game IS expensive for kids to play; ice rinks are not ubiquitous; and, yes, there still is a stigma about a game that is perceived as largely "white" and largely "non-American" in its player rosters.

    But, it IS changing. Patrick Kane and Dustin Brown are 2 US-born players leading their respective teams. Seth Jones, an African-American player from Dallas/Denver is being touted as the Next Big Thing and will likely be drafted #1 by his hometown team in Colorado, joining some All-Stars of African-American descent like Jarome Iginla, Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Subban and Wayne Simmonds to name a few. The Kings and Sharks, 2 CA teams, have the best kids' community hockey programs in the league. And more needs to be done in the latter, especially in the non-traditional markets like Florida, Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas, etc.

    Oh, and Boston? It ranks #6 in CSA (Combined Statistical Area) in terms of US media markets. Not too shabby ;-)

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