Saturday, January 14, 2006

NBC's Debut Games, Better Than Expected

The NHL on NBC. Today marked the first day of NBC’s network broadcast of the NHL. And they did surprisingly well. The games they covered were actually good ones. All one goal games and two going to overtime, the Boston/Dallas game featured the shootout.

All in all, NBC got some good games to cover, but did that translate to good ratings in the States. Networks have always had a love hate relationship with the NHL. Remember Fox’s attempt to make hockey easier with the glowing puck. But their numbers didn’t improve.

NBC is a bit different only because they will be the network covering the Winter Olympics as well. Hockey ratings always seem to find a bump just before and after the Winter Olympics, at least in 2000 it did. And with NBC keeping those same viewers that may sit and watch when the Olympian hockey players return to their NHL teams.

I enjoyed the games on NBC, they didn’t try to do too much on their debut broadcasts. I could have done with out the Sidney Crosby campaign piece for Calder during the second intermission. The entry and exits of the broadcasts were clean, and very little interruption from the game.

I would hope that a US Network would stick with the NHL for the whole season. And why not take that chance with the new look of the league. The NFL will always overtake the television on Sundays, but Saturday broadcasts could smell like hockey for NBC. But due to lack of ratings, and consequently the lack of sales will keep hockey out of the lights in the fall.

As for NBC, keep up the good work, and I will tune in again next Saturday.

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