Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/30/14 at 09:19 AM ET
from Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune,
They won't admit it, but privately NBC will be rooting for the Blackhawks to pull off the comeback against the Kings this weekend.
Having the Hawks in the Stanley Cup Final is huge for NBC. Not as much with the Kings.
With the Rangers and Kings still alive, Chicago technically is the nation's No. 3 TV market in terms of overall viewers during the playoffs. But thanks to the avid following for the Hawks, the town is a clear-cut No. 1 in terms of delivering hockey viewers.
The numbers tell the story. Before Thursday's Rangers-Montreal game, New York was averaging a 4.1 rating for Rangers games during the playoffs; Los Angeles is at 1.7 for Kings games. Meanwhile, Chicago checks in at a robust 13.4 for Hawks playoff games.
While being careful not to play favorites in the Western Conference finals, NBC announcer Mike Emrick knows what the Blackhawks have meant to the NBC in recent years.
"It's a magical time for hockey in Chicago," Emrick said. "There's a passion that is hard to discount. Even Mr. Fix-it on Saturday morning is talking Blackhawks hockey."
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