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Game One of Stanley Cup Delivers Poor Ratings

Game One of the Stanley Cup turned up some poor ratings as it aired directly against Game 5 between the Suns and Clippers.

MIchael Quirk

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The NHL is heading to ESPN and TNT in the fall, but before they do, they have one more Stanley Cup champion to crown. All 4-7 games of the Stanley Cup will appear on the NBC family of networks, with games 1-2 already aired on NBCSN, and games 3-7 (the final three if necessary) set for NBC. Despite having a Canadian team in the finals for the first time in a decade, the Game 1 ratings between Montreal and Tampa were down 54 percent from 2019.

According to Sportico, 1.57 million viewers tuned into the game that saw the Lightning win 5-1. The game did have a couple things working against it. For starters, it aired on NBCSN, which will soon be discontinued as a channel, and whose slogan may as well be, “the station that’ll have bartenders asking, ‘what channel is that on?'” Second, and more importantly, the game ran concurrently with Game 5 of Suns and Clippers, where Phoenix missed an opportunity to clinch its first Finals berth since Charles Barkley played in The Valley. That game drew 5.74 million viewers over on ESPN.

The numbers figure to pick up as the series moves along. Tampa is currently up 2-0, and whether they work their way closer to close-out games, or Montreal makes a series out of it when they return home, it figures to garner more eyeballs. Add in that each game moving forward will be on NBC, as well. Game 3 is set for Friday at 8 p.m.

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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