FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
NBC SPORTS GROUP FILLS OUT 2015 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF BRACKET WITH COMPLETE COVERAGE BEGINNING APRIL 15
NBC & NBCSN Combine to Cover Stanley Cup Final for 10th Straight Year; Every Stanley Cup Playoff Game to be Televised Nationally for Fourth Straight Year
USA Network To Present Stanley Cup Playoff Games For First Time in 30 Years; NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, CNBC and NHL Network to Carry All Games
NBC to Air Up to Eight Primetime Playoff Games, Most-Ever Since Acquiring NHL Rights in 2005
Second Season of Playoff Format With Emphasis on Brackets For Fans Features Division Rival Matchups
NBC Sports Live Extra to Provide Streaming Coverage of 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs
NBC Sports Regional Networks to Air Live Coverage of First-Round Games & Comprehensive Local Team Coverage
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 1, 2015 – For the fourth consecutive year, every NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game will be presented nationally across the platforms of NBC Sports Group and select NBCUniversal networks. During April, May and June, NBC Sports Group will televise as many as 105 playoff games and possibly more than 260 hours of programming. It all begins two weeks from today on Wednesday, April 15.
Coverage will be presented on NBC, NBCSN and NHL Network, as well as NBCUniversal’s USA Network, the No. 1 cable entertainment network, and CNBC, NBCUniversal’s business channel. This marks the first time USA Network will present NHL Stanley Cup Playoff coverage since 1985. CNBC has provided Stanley Cup Playoff coverage since 2012.
This year is the 10th consecutive season that NBC and NBCSN will combine to cover the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and will feature the most primetime playoff games on NBC (up to eight) since acquiring NHL television rights in 2005.
NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will provide complete streaming coverage of every game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs that is televised by NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, and CNBC.
Locally, NBC Sports Regional Networks will surround the Blackhawks (Comcast SportsNet Chicago), Capitals (Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic), Bruins (Comcast SportsNet New England), Sharks (Comcast SportsNet California), and Flyers (Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia) with in-depth live-event news coverage.* NBCSports.com will provide comprehensive online coverage of the playoffs with online-only video, contributions from Comcast SportsNet insiders, and constant news updates from ProHockeyTalk. (*Contingent upon which teams qualify for the playoffs)
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS CONFERENCE CALL
NBC Sports Group will host a conference call with members of its NHL on-air team following the regular season either Monday, April 13 or Tuesday, April 14. An advisory will be distributed when details are finalized.
SECOND SEASON OF PLAYOFF FORMAT WITH EMPHASIS ON BRACKETS FOR FANS FEATURES DIVISION RIVAL MATCHUPS
For the second straight season, the NHL is employing a playoff format that features a fixed bracket for fans to fill out and predict who will advance in each round, pitting Division rivals against one another in the first two rounds:
- The top three finishers in each Division automatically qualify and are designated No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds. Among the remaining teams in each Conference, the two teams with the best records qualify as Wild Cards and are designated No. 4 seeds.
- The first two rounds are Divisional brackets. No. 1 plays No. 4, and No 2. plays No. 3, with winners advancing to play each other.
- Within each Conference, the Wild Card team with the better record will be assigned to the bracket of the Divisional leader with the lesser record.
- Home-ice advantage through the first two rounds goes to the higher seeded team, regardless of regular-season records.
- For the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final, home-ice advantage goes to the team with the better regular-season record.
USA NETWORK TO AIR STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF GAMES FOR FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS
USA Network will air Stanley Cup Playoff coverage for the first time in 30 years, joining NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and NHL Network to provide comprehensive coverage of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Beginning April 15, USA Network will provide game coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, as needed, throughout the playoffs. USA Network last aired Stanley Cup Playoff coverage in 1985.
“In today’s competitive TV landscape, live sports continue to be an invaluable part of the programming mix, attracting a large audience and serving as a powerful promotional platform,” said USA Network President Chris McCumber. “USA is proud to be partnering with NBC Sports on this new venture to bring live sports back to the network.”
Every first-round Stanley Cup Playoff game will be televised on a national platform.
In order to televise as many as four games on a given day/night, NBC Sports Group will utilize NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, CNBC and the NHL Network to carry first-round games.
NBCSN will be the primary home of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, offering coverage of one or two games virtually every night of the first round. NBC will present seven exclusive first-round broadcasts during the weekends of April 18-19 and April 25-26, including two Saturday primetime broadcasts on April 18 and April 25 at 8 p.m. ET.
USA Network, CNBC and NHL Network will also provide live coverage in primetime. USA Network will host games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, while CNBC will air games Thursday through Monday nights, when necessary. Games airing on NBCSN, USA Network, CNBC and the NHL Network will be subject to local blackouts in the first round. NBC has exclusivity throughout the playoffs.
NBC Sports Group’s Stanley Cup Playoff exclusivity originates with the second round. Beginning in the second round and continuing through the Stanley Cup Final, all games will air exclusively on NBC, NBCSN, USA Network or CNBC.
NBCSN will serve as the primary home for second-round coverage, offering one or two games virtually every night. When necessary, USA Network (Tuesday and Wednesday) and CNBC (Thursday through Monday) will provide live coverage in primetime, although less frequently than in the first round. NBC will present exclusive afternoon coverage on Saturday, May 2, leading into to its coverage of the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.
NBC and NBCSN will provide exclusive coverage of the Conference Finals. NBC will broadcast afternoon games on May 16-17, and a primetime game on Saturday, May 23, at 8 p.m. ET. The remaining games from both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals will be televised exclusively on NBCSN.
STANLEY CUP FINAL
For the 10th consecutive year, NBC and NBCSN will provide exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Final. NBC will broadcast Game 1, Game 4, and Games 5-7 (if necessary), with NBCSN televising Games 2-3. Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and analyst Eddie Olczyk, and Emmy Award-winning Inside-the-Glass analyst Pierre McGuire will call the Stanley Cup Final.
Robust pre-game, post-game and intermission studio programming throughout the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs will originate from NBC Sports Group’s state-of-the-art International Broadcast Center located in Stamford, Conn., except during the Stanley Cup Final, when live studio coverage will originate from the game sites.
During the first round, NBC Sports Group will operate two studio shows. On most weeknights, fans can expect NHL studio programming for games airing on NBCSN and USA Network/CNBC, sometimes simultaneously. NHL Live will usually begin one hour prior to game time, with post-game coverage airing immediately after the final game of the night.
Beginning on Thursday, April 16 at 7 a.m. ET, and continuing nearly every morning throughout the playoffs, NBCSN will air highlights of the previous night’s most exciting games.
COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL COVERAGE
Through the NBC Sports Regional Networks, comprehensive coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be provided daily via NBC Sports Regional Networks, available in more than 50 million U.S. households. NBC Sports Regional Networks serve the hometown fans of the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals. In-depth coverage for those teams advancing to the postseason includes exclusive regional coverage of first-round games, pre- and post-game shows and extensive on-line coverage via CSN’s team of NHL Insiders.
For teams that advance past the first round, NBC Sports Regional Networks will deliver extensive pre- and post-game coverage as well as breaking news and analysis throughout each team’s playoff run.
2014 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ARE MOST-WATCHED ON CABLE IN 17 YEARS
NBC Sports Group’s 77 playoff games telecast on NBCSN/CNBC averaged 10.98 million viewers, ranking as the most-watched NHL playoffs on cable since 1997. Last year’s average viewership was up 10% from the 2013 cable average of 1.000 million viewers.
Click here for more information on NBC Sports Group’s 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff cable viewership.
NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA COVERAGE
NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will provide streaming coverage of 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff games on NBC, NBCSN, USA Network, and CNBC via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to for their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play and Windows Store.
In addition to its live stream coverage via NBC Sports Live Extra, NBCSports.com’s ProHockeyTalk, will anchor NBC Sports’ online and mobile coverage of the NHL playoffs.
ProHockeyTalk provides unique, informative and entertaining news, commentary and analysis — updated around the clock — on all the stories surrounding the NHL playoffs. Other NBCSports.com features will include:
- PHT Extra, a multiple-times-a-week online-only video segment.
- Online-only videos featuring NBC Sports and NBCSN hockey commentators previewing upcoming playoff games and wrapping-up all of the NHL action that day.
- Content provided by Comcast SportsNet NHL insiders.
- An NHL Playoffs Channel Finder tool that will help fans locate the times and stations for every NHL playoff broadcast.
In addition to broadcast, cable, regional and digital platforms, NBC Sports Group will connect with NHL fans via numerous social media initiatives, including social interaction, on-air integration and news:
#StanleyCup Photo Campaign: For the 4th year in a row, and in conjunction with the NHL, fans can use #StanleyCup to join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- #StanleyCup will be displayed on-air throughout each game to remind fans watching each round
- This season, we are celebrating the ultimate fans through photos via, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- Throughout the weeks of the playoffs, NBC Sports will ask fans to submit themed pictures via social media using #StanleyCup (for example: show us your best team tattoo, cutest baby in hockey gear, your watch parties).
- During the broadcast, we will showcase our favorite photos across each theme throughout the weeks of the playoffs and Stanley Cup Finals.
- #StanleyCupTough: A social media driven initiative to celebrate the long tough road that players go through on their quest for the Stanley Cup. The “NHL on NBC Sports” social media platforms will be celebrating this toughness by highlighting performances & asking fans to weigh in and nominate their favorite Playoff players and performances by using #StanleyCupTough.
- NHL on NBC All-Access Social Media Hub:
- The NHL on NBC All-Access hub located at NBCSports.com/NHLonNBC will be one stop shopping for fans that need to know everything around the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals from the schedule of games to social media chatter.
- Fans can access Twitter feeds from the players, teams, NBCSports.com experts and @NHLonNBCSports in one, easy to access curated hub.
- Top videos from around NBCSports.com will be featured on the site
- Fans can engage with Twitter (@NHLonNBCSports) and Facebook (facebook.com/NHLonNBCSports) to receive the most up to date tune-in information, scores, reports and stories from around the NHL and ProHockeyTalk.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–