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In my never ending quest to ensure that you have the best possible experience on my site, I decided to install a nice little tool called Snap Shots. It enhances links with visual previews of the destination sites, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NHL on NBC Extended For Another Season

NBC has reportedly renewed their contract with the NHL for the 2008-09 season. Dick Ebersol, Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics said in a statement: “Ratings were up this year; the Winter Classic in Buffalo was a huge success; advertising sales were healthy; and the product on the ice has never been better, led by young, marketable stars such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.”

Not only did NBC's ratings rise 11% this year to a 1.0, but it got a boost in a key demographic, as viewership in the male 18-49 category jumped 33%. To keep things in perspective, it must be noted that these numbers include the Winter Classic ratings.

This deal makes sense for both sides, NBC gets another Winter Classic game, the NHL gets to stay on network television. Also, even though ratings haven't been great, the NHL is able to draw high-end, affluent consumers to NBC. This no doubt helps NBC get healthy revenues for ad sales. Plus, there is always the promise of the NHL breaking out and finally getting the viewership it needs, especially if large market teams like the Rangers do consistently well.

Despite the fact that many people want to see the league ditch NBC to go to ESPN, having a presence on network television is far more important. NBC is available to everyone, ESPN is not. Despite the fact that ESPN is in some 110 million homes, TV ratings are consistently higher on network television for all sports. Plus, the NHL may be able to command a healthy rights fee after next season, especially if two large market American teams make the Stanley Cup Finals.

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