The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/22/13 at 12:06 AM ET
You may take the Chicago Tribune's Ed Sherman's analysis of the Chicago Blackhawks' national TV footprint for what you will:
The Blackhawks are as close to a national team as any in the NHL. Look no further than NBC. The network is riding the Hawks hard during the playoffs. The reason is simple: Ratings.
The Hawks' local numbers from the nation's No. 3 market are having a huge impact on the overall national rating for their games on NBC and NBC Sports Network. In Chicago, an average of nearly 300,000 viewers tuned in for Game 3 on NBC Sports Network Monday night. That's nearly 20 percent of the estimated 1.6 million viewers who tuned in across the country.
Let's say there are many Hawks fans within the executive offices at NBC Sports.
"A big market like Chicago, which is as hot a market as you can have in terms of TV ratings, makes a difference," said Sam Flood, NBC Sports' executive producer. "Your ratings are going to be dramatically different for Ottawa-Edmonton than if you have Chicago, Boston or Detroit playing. Boston has that kind of reach, but it isn't as big a market as Chicago. The same with Pittsburgh, Detroit (which do big local ratings). The Rangers have it to some degree, but sports viewership in New York is somewhat splintered. Chicago is a huge market with star power."
Flood noted that there are many transplanted Chicagoans "who follow the team with a passion." And playing in the Western Division extends the Hawks' reach into those markets compared to teams in the East.
"The Hawks are consumed across the country, which is what you want," Flood said.
The Hawks' appeal is seen in Flood's choice of announcers for the series: The No. 1 line of Mike Emrick, Ed Olcyzk and Pierre McGuire. In virtually every other scenario, they would be assigned to Bruins-Rangers in the East.
"It was Chicago one, Detroit two," Flood said of his reasons. "(With all the games in the Eastern and Central time zones), we thought it was important to have them on this series."
Sherman continues, and I know the ratings in Detroit have been down this season, but...Well, I guess all roads lead to the bigger city.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.