Stanley Cup Playoffs Reach Unprecedented Exposure Through NBC Sports Group
The exposure of the NHL in America has grown under the league’s pact with NBC Sports Group. Now that relationship is being taken to the next level.
For the first time in the 95-year history of the NHL, every Stanley Cup Playoff game will be televised nationally. The NBC Sports Group will provide unrivaled access to the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs over the next two months, televising as many as 105 playoff games and possibly more than 262½ hours of programming.
Games will be presented in primetime on NBC, the NBC Sports Network, the NHL Network, and NBCUniversal business channel CNBC.
“It really has been a collaborative effort,” praised NHL Commissioner Gary Betteman during a media conference call earlier this week. “We have never been promoted, scheduled, and produced better than now, and perhaps the most important element to us in this new relationship was the fact that all of our Stanley Cup games are being televised nationally.”
Only in the quarterfinal round, which began last night, do things get a little dicey as to where games may be available. Every quarterfinal game will be televised on a national platform, meaning that as many as four games on a given day will be carried by NBC Sports Group networks: NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, and the NHL Network.
However, first-round games on NBC Sports Network, CNBC, and NHL Network are subject to local blackout, and team RSNs have broadcast priorities in their market. For example, while New York Rangers playoff games will be broadcast nationally, fans in the New York City area will see the games on MSG. NBC will present exclusive afternoon coverage during the weekends of April 14-15 and April 21-22.
“The biggest thing for us is that we will have games that we’re producing on CNBC at the same time as the games are being produced on NBC Sports Network,” says Sam Flood, executive producer at NBC Sports Group, which will have two live games going on at the same time starting within a half hour of each other on most nights. “To properly serve those games, we have actually opened up a second studio in the Stamford, CT, facility. So each game will be serviced by its own production and talent group for the intermission breaks. We think that gives a huge advantage to the audience because they are going to get the proper in-depth look at the game they are watching and then let you know what matters in the other games.”
The NBC Sports Group’s Stanley Cup Playoffs exclusivity begins with the Conference Semifinal round. Beginning in the second round and continuing through the Stanley Cup Final, all games will air exclusively on either NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, or the NHL Network.
The NBC Sports Network will serve as the primary home for Conference Semifinal coverage, offering one or two games virtually every night of the second round. CNBC and the NHL Network will again provide live event coverage in primetime, although more infrequently than in the first round. NBC will present exclusive afternoon coverage during the weekends of April 28-29 and May 5-6.
NBC and the NBC Sports Network will team to provide exclusive coverage of the Conference Finals. NBC will broadcast a game each day on the weekend of May 19-20. The remaining games from both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals will be televised exclusively on the NBC Sports Network.