Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

NHL Gets "Dream" Finals, But Will It Get New Fans To Watch

Sidney Crosby

After all these years, and three straight years with a Canadian team in the finals (not good for US TV ratings), the NHL finally got themselves the ultimate Stanley Cup Finals matchup.

The well supported Detroit Red Wings against the hottest team in the league the Pittsburgh Penguins, with the league’s biggest young star Sidney Crosby.

The big question is not how well with the Finals rate. We’re pretty sure this is going to be a winner, with the first two games on Versus and the rest on NBC. The real question is, can a good series bring in any additional hockey fans? (Go to the poll to answer that for us!)

Ratings are up again we know and the NHL is doing a million times better than I thought it would do when they became the first sport to sit out the entire year due to a work stoppage. But when you stack a network game on NBC versus other network sports, the NHL is still far behind.

Consider this weekend, where the Flyers-Penguins game on Saturday drew a 1.7 rating on NBC.

Over on ABC at the same time, Candace Parker’s WNBA debut drew a .9 rating. A playoff game with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals on the line should more than double up a WNBA game, even if it’s the debut of their number one draft pick.

In other NHL news, I love the fact that the top selling item on throughout the playoffs has been a replica Stanley Cup . As you can see this isn’t just some trinket. It’s two feet tall and it’s $250. Year over year sales for this replica cup are up 34 percent during the playoff period and 45 percent over the regular season.

And check out the video clip. It's my interview Monday with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Hockey's Holy Grail

Questions?  Comments?