Dan's View From Center Ice - 4/11/2012
As the San Jose Sharks get set to begin their Stanley Cup playoff journey with Game One in St. Louis on Thursday, the National Hockey League is getting the best radio and television broadcast coverage in history.
Each and every San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup playoff game will be airing on Classic Rock KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM and the San Jose Sharks Radio Network affiliate stations nearest you. Jamie Baker and I have always appreciated your loyal listenership, and we look forward to bringing you every minute of every game that the Sharks play.
Because of the Sharks Radio Network affiliate station group, and now because of satellite and digital radio platforms, our radio audience has continued to find more listeners. In fact, because of SiriusXM and internet streaming radio, a larger and larger audience of hockey fans beyond the range of KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network has been able to listen to every minute of every Stanley Cup playoff game for years.
Well, this season, the television world is catching up to their radio brethren. Because of the NHL’s years of work with NBC and Versus, the League has been a major beneficiary of the merger between NBC Universal and Comcast, the owners of the League’s two television partners. With a new 10-year deal in place, fans across the United States will now have unprecedented television access to every Stanley Cup playoff game, nationwide.
A huge kudos has to go to Commissioner Gary Bettman and his lieutenants for the reward that they’re getting for years and years of hard work and loyalty. It’s going to expose hockey to millions of new initiates, but more importantly, it will bring hockey to loyal fans who have never had the opportunity, at least on television, to watch the games of their choice.
There will be a few messages that may be slightly confusing in the television information in the first round, however. An NBC website designed to show you where you can find coverage for games in your local area is, as expected, promoting the national networks tailored to your local area, but it is important to note that this information is not quite correct in the first round of the playoffs, at least as it pertains to Bay Area Sharks coverage.
Although Sharks games in round one will be televised on the NBC family around the country, they will only air in the Bay Area and the Sharks area of market influence on Comcast Sportsnet California. You’ll have the opportunity to watch telecasts of other first-round matchups on CNBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network, and NBC, while fans in other areas will be able to watch the Sharks (in this case, on CNBC).
After round one (and there will be other rounds, won’t there?), the NHL’s television universe leaves the local rights-holders, and goes to the NBC family of networks that I mentioned, and you’ll be able to access televised coverage in exactly the manner that NBC’s NHL Channel Finder currently has posted.
To be clear, Sharks fans in round one will get the additional out-of-market coverage that is listed on the site. That’s a huge bonus for the sport.
Where is radio in the midst of all of this news? Well, the medium has been an integral part of the NHL landscape since the 1920’s, when Foster Hewitt’s broadcasts from the gondola at Maple Leaf Gardens were heard coast-to-coast in Canada, with some bleed-over to the border areas of the United States. Every minute of every Stanley Cup playoff game has been heard by a large radio audience for years on terrestrial radio, and in the last few years, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and internet streaming radio has allowed fans across the world to tune in to play-by-play teams from all 30 cities to catch the action.
Radio continues to be a primary link between a team and its fans, and with that in mind, I am looking forward to welcoming you with all of the action on our outstanding flagship radio station, Classic Rock KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM in San Jose-San Francisco. The station has superb regional coverage, but we also have a 12-market radio network in Northern California that also is there for you with ever-expanding coverage.
We just received word today, for example, that our Redding affiliate, Results Radio, will not only air Game 1, Game 4, and Game 5 on XS Sports (KKXS 96.1 FM), but Games 2 and 3 will also air on sister station Red 103.1 and 93.3 FM, the classic rock station for the solid and growing Sharks fan base in the Redding region. In Fresno, all games will air on 790 ESPN 2, and Games 2 and 3 are scheduled to air on ESPN 1430, so the many hockey fans in that area will be able to access the games.
You’ll find all of the latest updates for listening to the playoff games on the Sharks Radio Network by going to the radio section of this website, which is easily accessed at www.sjsharksradio.net. You’ll find stations, coverage, and schedules there.
When the radio coverage goes national, we hope that you continue to listen to Jamie Baker and I calling the action on Classic Rock KFOX 98.5/102.1 and our network affiliates while watching it on TV. Many have asked about how to synch up the different platforms, and there are several ways to do it. Some suggestions can be found here. See you on the radio!