EDIT: To clarify, I was talking about the NBC Game of the Week, not necessarily the NBC Sports Network. They did air a commercial for the network sometime early in the game. Here it is (and it’s pretty good):
For those who’ve forgotten, NBC signed a rather large partnership deal with the NHL for exclusive broadcast rights back in April, beating out heavyweight ESPN both in terms of length (NBC’s got the league for ten years) and money ($2 billion). Part of this deal was the eventual — and welcomed — switch of Versus to the NBC Sports Network. Hockey fans were getting an upgrade in technology and appearance. Gone were the days of wonky studio shows and broadcasts of meh quality. Welcome to the Mike Milbury/Pierre McGuire era.
Ok, that’s not a positive, I know, but the point is this: NBC hired some of the best and most knowledgable hockey people to broadcast a number of games every week. In addition to the Sunday NBC Game of the Week which is nationally televised, NBC Sports Network also airs between three to five games during the week. It’s maximum exposure for the sport, right? Wrong.
The most maximum of maximum arenas, the Super Bowl, is a very prime spot to showcase the rest of NBC’s sports line-up, and let’s face it: hockey’s the best they have other than football. Ratings are solid among hockey fans, and NBC saw what kind of ratings casual fans can bring in during the Olympics. It would stand to reason that they’d advertise the Game of the Week between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers. You have Ovechkin, you have Lundqvist, you have a team from one of the markets playing in the Super Bowl. How in the world any network who wants to promote their product would overlook putting at least a couple of ads on TV, or a mention during the game, is beyond me. But that’s exactly what NBC did.
You get more hockey in this Budweiser commercial than NBC promoted the entire game:
I’m pretty sure that your eyes zeroed in on the USA jersey and the reference to Miracle on Ice. Unfortunately, the US wasn’t deemed worthy of the awesome “Flash Fans” ad that Bud showed in Canada during the game (in between CTV Olympics ads, from what I gathered from Twitter). But to have a nanosecond of hockey mentioned in a Bud commercial be the only exposure that NBC gave a sport that they’re paying $2 billion over ten years to broadcast is just asinine.
The NHL on NBC gets more plug time on 30 Rock than it does anywhere else, and technically speaking I’m pretty sure Paul Giamantti wasn’t sporting this Islanders jersey to get Pierre some more ratings. So far Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy have taken in a New York Rangers game, Tracy Jordan has worn a Rangers goalie mask on his wife’s short-lived reality TV show Queen of Jordan, Lemon went to visit NBC’s Boston affiliate and everyone in the office was wearing Bruins gear, and there was even a shout-out to the 1995 Quebec Nordiques. I don’t know who it is on 30 Rock‘s staff that is such a puckhead, but the advertising department for The NHL on NBC needs to tap them for ideas, stat.