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Blackhawks get ESPN’s attention; record huge rating for NBC

Even ESPN can’t ignore this record start by the Chicago Blackhawks.

During last night’s SportsCenter, the Hawks’ 2-1 victory over Detroit was the second story; I’m not including ESPN opening with a clip of that miracle shot from the New York high school game.

Naturally, ESPN went hard first on Miami and LeBron James beating the New York Knicks for their 14th straight victory. To be expected, given that ABC showed the game and the network owns the rights to the NBA.

However, instead of hockey being buried in the telecast behind college basketball, golf, NASCAR, World Baseball Classic, not to mention more LeBron, SportsCenter actually followed with extensive video of guys with sticks in their hands. Perhaps, it had something to do with Steve Levy, a hockey guy, serving as a co-host along with Stuart Scott.

I can imagine Levy saying, “Hey, the Blackhawks thing is a big deal.”

Regardless, SportsCenter gave the Blackhawks a decent ride during the evening telecast. Hockey fans were glad ESPN noticed.

Then this morning, SportsCenter actually asked Stephen A. Smith to judge which streak is more impressive: The Heat or Blackhawks?

Aaarree you seeerrrrriiiiousss?

Of course, Smith went with the Heat because he’s a basketball guy and the whole tie thing with the NHL. Even though I am a Chicago guy, I can’t say I disagree because the Hawks have lost three shootouts. Scary thought that I agree with Stephen A.

Let’s agree both streaks are impressive.

*******

NBC cashed in Sunday. The game did a 1.6 overnight rating, its highest ever for a regular-season, non-Winter Classic game.

NBC definitely is benefiting from having Chicago, the nation’s third largest market, going on all in on the Hawks. The game did a huge 9.7 rating in Chicago, which translates to an estimated 350,000 homes tuning in.

To which, NBC says, thank you, Chicago.

 

 

 

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