Canada-U.S. men's Olympic hockey game headed for MSNBC

Chicago TribuneFebruary 19, 2010 

Normally billed as "The Place for Politics," MSNBC on Sunday night will be the place for Olympics hockey. Live coverage of the much anticipated United States-Canada men's matchup will run there in prime time, rather than over the air on corporate cousin NBC.

That may not seem politically correct to some sports fans, especially when it's ice dancing, speed skating, skiing and bobsled getting the marquee exposure on the big broadcast network instead.

The NBC decision is a play in peak viewing hours for the largest possible audience, which would include marginal sports fans and women, and it's rooted in the expectation that those interested in Patrick Kane and Team USA challenging Sidney Crosby and Team Canada will make the effort to go to whatever channel necessary to see the game.

But Christopher McCloskey, an NBC Universal Sports and Olympics vice president, said one benefit of putting the hockey game on MSNBC is that it can run there without being cut up into segments to accommodate other sports as NBC customarily does in prime time to cover as much ground and as many viewer interests as possible.

"The incorporation of cable platforms into Olympic programming allows for the avid sport fan to watch games the way they are used to watching them — with long-form coverage," McCloskey said

MSNBC plans a 40-minute pregame show Sunday, which will begin at 7 p.m. EST. Being on cable also ensures the game will be seen live coast-to-coast.

Within the host nation, the TV appeal of the ice hockey rivalry is more palpable and demonstrable than south of its border. Yet had Olympics organizers not scheduled the U.S.-Canada game for prime time in eastern time zones, NBC well might have picked it up. Earlier Sunday, the broadcast network plans to air the Jaromir Jagr's Czech Republic against Alexander Ovechkin's Russia.

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service