With a Full 82-Game Season, NHL Is Back on NBC Sports
Washington may be shut down, but the Washington Capitals are back in business, and NBC Sports Group couldn’t be more thrilled.
A year ago, the National Hockey League was mired in a bitter labor dispute that would eventually swallow up half the season and cost the network its broadcast of the league’s most lucrative event of the year, the Winter Classic.
It’s a totally different world today. NBC Sports approaches the new season riding a wave of momentum, coming off the most-watched Stanley Cup Final on record. The new year also offers the prospect of the return of the Winter Classic and the added exposure of NHL players participating in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February.
The broadcast season for the NHL’s flagship network, NBCSN, begins with a flurry tonight, with the Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Capitals (8 p.m. ET) in the first of three games in three days on NBCSN.
NEP Back in the Saddle
NEP Broadcasting will continue its run as the primary mobile-production provider for NBC’s NHL coverage. ND5 and ND6 are the top-flight units deployed by NBC throughout the season.
For NBC Sports Group’s NHL playoff coverage last year, NEP deployed its ND5, ND6, SS28, and NCP8 mobile broadcasting units across the country. By positioning fleets of trucks on both U.S. coasts, NEP was able to stage and position them to reach the cities that had the best probability of hosting the next series.
NBC Sports Group’s new digital platform, NBC Sports Live Extra, was launched not long before the start of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. So this marks the first full season that the authentication service will offer NHL on NBCSN broadcasts to fans on all devices.
NBC is highly optimistic about the upcoming season from a digital perspective. After some early hiccups, NBC Sports Live Extra’s streaming of the Barclays Premier League has been popular, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs were also widely watched on mobile devices. More than 70 million minutes of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs were live-streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra — the NBC Sports Group’s live-streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — according to Adobe Site Catalyst. Those figures include the Stanley Cup Final, which was live-streamed for the first time and posted 30,043,262 minutes.
New Original Programming
NBCSN will launch a pair of programs — NHL Rivals and NHL Top 10 — on Tuesday Oct. 9, expanding NBC Sports Group’s NHL coverage with programming focused on hockey’s historic rivalries and some of the game’s most-debated topics.
The debut episode of NHL Rivals on Oct. 9 will feature the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, which have been division rivals since 1970 and face off on Wednesday Night Rivalry on Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. NHL Rivals will also air each week at 6:30 p.m., leading into NHL Live, NBC Sports Group’s live pre- and post-game show.
NHL Top 10, which will premiere each week following NHL Rivals, will dive deep into some of the timeless debates hockey fans have discussed for decades. The weekly countdown program will run the gamut of hockey “bests,” including top goal-scorers and U.S.-born players, as well as the toughest places to play in the NHL and top Olympic moments. It will feature commentary and analysis by current and former players, broadcasters, and writers.