The NHL playoffs are off to a great start with three of the league’s most-storied franchises playing in a game seven this evening. But thanks to some dumb scheduling, neither game is likely to do very well on television.
Nothing is bigger in the NHL than a game seven, especially when three of the league’s original six (Boston, Toronto, New York) are involved. But for some reason, the NHL scheduled tonight’s game sevens to start within one hour of each other, with Boston and Toronto starting at 7:00 ET and New York and Washington dropping the puck at 8:00 ET.
Instead of maximizing ratings by having the games not overlap, hockey fans will be forced to choose between the two games.
On top of that, both games will go head-to-head with game four of the hotly contested NBA playoff series between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, assuring that the only people watching the NHL tonight will be diehard hockey fans.
At this point, the NHL’s best hope is that one of the games goes into multiple overtimes. If that happens, the viewing audience will slowly grow over the course of the evening and the average rating will will climb.
The NHL is in a constant uphill battle against the other major sports leagues. And they need to do a better job making sure that game sevens are scheduled for different times or on different evenings. Otherwise, the NHL will continue to miss out on chances to increase their ratings and their grow their audience.
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