Hi everyone it’s Brian before we jump into today’s interview with Chris Wojcik, NHL Director of Event Communication and Player Relations let’s talk about today’s sponsor, the University of Florida – Go Gators!
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Alright… let’s start the countdown…
Hey, everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast…
It seems like forever we have put the big four sports on a pedestal, dominating the US sports market. But let’s be honest, the four have drifted apart. The NFL and NBA have clearly separated from the pack, and major league baseball and the NHL have been struggling to keep up with the top level growth.
Not only that, they’ve had a bevy of sports attacking them from behind. Soccer has grown in the US, with the MLS entering it’s 23rd year and adding successful expansion teams each year. Lacrosse and Rugby continue to grow domestically.
But the NHL still holds seat #4 in US-based team sports.
The ratings for this years Stanley Cup playoffs are the highest they’ve been since 1994, despite the lack of many major market teams. Rangers and Islanders gone… that means no new York market. Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia…gone gone gone.
But in Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, St. Louis and San Jose each market set local ratings records.
The reason for the spike in ratings – drama. We all love drama, and while the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs saw chalk results with best teams sweeping lesser teams. The Stanley Cup playoffs were just the opposite.
The first two rounds included 34 one-goal games, 15 overtime contests, and five Game 7s.
The Columbus Blue Jackets swept the Eastern Conference #1 seed Tampa Bay Lightning out of the playoffs in the first round. Tampa tied the NHL record for regular season wins and failed to win a single game in the postseason. The finished the regular season with 128 points, the next closest team had 107..and they didn’t win a single game!
The Calgary Flames, the #1 seed in the Western Conference also lost in the first round to the Colorado Avalanche who barely squeaked into the playoffs. I’m not going to go into more detail, because our CEO John Mellor is a huge Flames fan and may fire me.
The point is, the Stanley Cup playoffs have trended toward a more dramatic and more suspenseful event than their competing NBA playoffs, and the fans have noticed and arrived. Which is why I wanted to bring back my interview with Chris Wojcik, NHL Director of Event Communications and Player Relations – he’s in his craziest time of year right now, which makes it all the better to talk a little business of hockey…
Here’s Chris Wojcik…
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Thanks for listening – time to get back to work.