Sunday Night Hockey

May 14th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | Filed under Flyers, Hockey.

The attraction known as the NHL Winter Classic will be coming to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on January 2nd. The Winter Classic has become the premier event for the regular season of the NHL. This is only part of the reason why the NHL is on the upswing in terms of popularity and ratings. This year’s playoffs are up 12% from last year because of the close intense play that has taken place throughout. The next step that the NHL needs to make in order to become relevant is to have a nationally televised game that takes place at night, on NBC.

I have had this idea for about a year now and game 7 between the Sharks and Red Wings made me realize that this idea would most certainly work.

NBC has done a fantastic job with the Sunday night game for the NFL. The ratings last year were through the roof, having a nationally televised game in prime time helped reach a bigger audience, which is exactly what the NHL has to do if they want to expand their product.

After the NFL wraps up the playoffs there is a gaping hole of programming on Sunday nights, which usually gets filled up with Dateline and then a new show at 10 o’ clock which seems to only last a season, The Cape was the victim of that time slot last year. Instead of putting in millions of dollars to come up with a new concept for a television show, less money could be put into sending out the production team to film a game.

The schedule for the NHL would have to change a little bit, there couldn’t be any other games played on Sunday night, which would mean that all of the Sunday games come late February would be played during the day. This would allow NBC to create a show similar to Hockey night in Canada and Football Night in America.

Hockey players are the most interchangeable players out of the big 4 (NFL,NBA,MLB,NHL). Player s change teams so frequently that people can’t keep up and therefore have no connection to any of the players. By having a show that gives insight on a national level it will give the players some personality and most importantly it will give the public some knowledge on players that normally they would never hear about. Sit down interviews, discussion of games that have taken place during the day, and the presentation that NBC can provide that would make it a must watch for everyone not just the hardcore hockey fan.

Sports are up in ratings across the board. The NFL had record numbers last year, the ratings for the NBA have been up this year, baseball is always a good draw on nights and during the day. The daytime slot for hockey just does not work as well as a nighttime slot would. Many people would probably turn on the TV and question why hockey is on NBC, but let them sit and watch 5 minutes of a Canucks-Blackhawks game and see if they leave it on for just a period or even the whole game.

It is worth taking the chance just to see if it would work. You have to capitalize on the new found interest in the post lockout NHL and getting the games out to the most amount of people possible is the next logical step.


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