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NHL And NBA stories for the offseason

June 19, 2015

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It’s been a banner week for sports fans across the country. Two great finales brought an end to the professional hockey and basketball seasons, crowning the Golden State Warriors as the champions of the NBA and the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL.

The Blackhawks took home the Stanley Cup, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in a hockey series that earned great TV ratings for the NBC and the NHL, as our own Micheline Maynard wrote on during the matchup.

Yahoo Sports reported this week that the national rating for the final game was the third-highest Stanley Cup Final Game 6 since 1995 and broke records for an NBC hockey broadcast in Chicago.

ABC’s broadcast of the NBA Finals averaged 19.94 million viewers per game, ESPN reports, which is the closest a series has come to averaging 20 million since the 1998.

The series averaged 29 million people that year, as Michael Jordan won his last championship with the Chicago Bulls, according to The New York Times.

Despite these great ratings, the two series are always bittersweet for some fans, leaving baseball as only one of the four big professional sports until the fall, when the NFL season begins.

But the broadcast numbers reinforce the fact that there are a lot of fans across the country who crave coverage of their favorite teams even after the season is over.

With that in mind, it’s a great time to find money angles since teams do a lot of business during the offseason. Even things that seem trivial can have monetary implications for a franchise.

One example came right after the NBA Finals finished this week, with the Los Angeles Clippers revealing their new logo and jersey design. As Yahoo Sports points out, the reaction on social media hasn’t been very supportive of the change, which could bring a drop in jersey and merchandise sales.

The NHL and NBA drafts are both coming up next week, which means teams are looking for players that can bring a spark to their franchise. This year’s NHL draft features top prospect Connor McDavid, a phenomenal prospect who has already been compared with some of the best players in history.

Just 18 years old, McDavid signed an endorsement deal earlier this month before he’s even joined a team, Fox Sports reports. The Edmonton Oilers, who have the first pick in the draft, are expected to take the young prospect and hope he’ll help reignite the franchise, just like all-time great Wayne Gretzky did in the ’80s.

When a team adds a top prospect like McDavid, it generates a lot of excitement from local fans that can increase ticket and jersey sales.

Teams also bring in big-name players in trades and free agency, which can make for just as much excitement — or disappointment — from fans.

NBA players Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge could make moves this offseason, according to NBC Sports, and both have the name recognition to boost a team’s marketability.

If your local team changes their logo or jersey design, find out what that means for sales and get the reaction from fans in your area. If they picked up a big prospect or player in free agency, will that mean more fans in the seat?

Keep in touch with the reporters at the sports desk and follow what they’re talking about this summer. Chances are there will be money involved that you can use for a story.


  • Rian Bosse

    Rian Bosse is a PhD student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2012 and worked for a small daily newspaper, the Daily Journal, in his hometown o...

    View all posts

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