Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Stanley Cup: Do Big Cities Mean Big Ratings?

The Stanley Cup finals between the Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are the ninth being carried by NBC and its cable companion, NBCSN (and its Versus and OLN antecedents), a long period of media stability for the N.H.L. Under NBC, the finals have averaged as many as 5.7 million viewers (last year’s Original Six battle between Boston and Chicago) and as few as 1.8 million (the 2007 Ottawa-Anaheim series). Now, as teams from the nation’s two largest markets meet, some wonder if this is the formula for record viewership.

It is not. Or more correctly, we do not know for certain. The hypothesis has not been tested often enough with the right teams in the markets.

“A great rating is about how long the series goes,” said Sam Flood, the executive producer of NBC Sports. “We’re rooting for the opposite team to win each game.”

Translation: The network makes more money the longer a series goes, and, by the way, it’s more exciting if it’s not a sweep....

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