|View single post by lobo316|
|Posted: Sat Oct 15th, 2016 12:58 am||
|Auston Matthews made history in his NHL debut on Wednesday night. The Toronto Maple Leafs rookie set a League record with four goals in his first game, including a natural hat-trick on his first three shots.
But now, he’s done something even more extraordinary: He forced NBCSN to add a game to its schedule involving a Canadian franchise!
The U.S. NHL rights-holder announced that the Maple Leafs’ home opener against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night has been added to the schedule, replacing the “Sprint Cup Series: Hollywood Casino 400, Final Practice,” which is apparently what is scheduled on a Saturday night on NBCSN.
The Leafs/Bruins game was originally scheduled to air on NHL Network.
This is … unexpected? Awesome?
Due to the futility of Canadian teams, some of the best (and most fascinating) young players in the NHL currently reside north of the border: Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Johnny Gaudreau. Two of the three are American – NBC made mention in its press release that Matthews is “a native of Scottsdale, Arizona – and the other is inarguably the most hyped young player in hockey since Sidney Crosby.
And yet the combined number of games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames on the NBC/NBCSN preseason schedule: One. That’s the Leafs’ outdoor game against the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 1.
Now, thanks to Auston Matthews, make it two.
This concept seems so maddening simple, doesn’t it? Step 1: Take great young player on Canadian team. Step 2: Add ratings-driving U.S. team. Step 3: Offer great product to your audience while exposing them to players and teams beyond the same 8-10 ones that are always on.
But the ratings margins are so minuscule for NBCSN, they don’t book Canadian teams out of necessity. Case in point: The St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks game on Wednesday night had a 0.74 overnight rating, the fourth-best for an NHL game on NBCSN, but slightly down from last season. And less than a million viewers.
So, again, what Matthews as done here is extraordinary: With one performance – that made him a 24-hour trending topic and got him noticed on the “Today” show on NBC – he willed NBCSN to add a Saturday night game featuring a Canadian team.
Now that’s Calder Trophy material …