Blackhawks

Bulls TV ratings post huge season-to-season gains on CSN

Bulls TV ratings post huge season-to-season gains on CSN

2014-15 Season Average Increased 56% for Households (up 111% for Adults 25-54) compared to ’13-’14;

CSN posted the second highest-rated regular season game in network history this season;

Significant Increases for “Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light” & “Kia Bulls Postgame Live” 

Network’s first season of live streaming Bulls telecasts garnered over FIVE MILLION minutes consumed

Chicago, IL (April 16, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the 2015 NBA Playoffs-bound Chicago Bulls (3rd seed in Eastern Conference with a 50-32 regular season record), posted significant television ratings for the 2014-15 NBA regular season, which have resulted in massive season-to-season increases in overall households and in all key demographic ratings categories.  Plus - Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Lite and Kia Bulls Postgame Live have also experienced solid year-to-year ratings increases, along with successful digital traffic numbers for the network’s inaugural season of live streaming game telecasts.

Comcast SportsNet’s game telecast ratings for the Chicago Bulls this regular season averaged a 4.71 household rating (approx. 163,781 Chicago market households watching per game)-- a 56% increase compared to last season’s 3.03 final average, which is an increase of 58,419 more Chicago market households tuning per game this season compared a year ago.

In addition, Comcast SportsNet also experienced massive year-to-year ratings increases in EVERY key advertiser demo category, including Adults 18-34 (up 140%)Adults 18-49 (up 107%)…Adults 25-54 (up 111%)…Men 18-34 (up 131%)Men 18-49 (up 89%)…and Men 25-54 (up 98%).  

On January 5 vs. Houston, Comcast SportsNet delivered its second-highest Bulls regular season game rating in network history with a 7.59 household rating (approx. 264,000 Chicago market households tuning in), peaking at a 10.0 (approx. 347,730 households tuning in).  All-time CSN regular season high rating for a Bulls game was an 8.73 vs. Indiana on January 25, 2012.

For its 42 telecasts during the 2014-15 NBA regular season, Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls game ratings averaged “at least” a 4.0 household rating on 31 occasions.  For all of last season (43 total games), only seven games reached at least a 4.0 average. Also among the 42 regular season game telecasts this season on CSN, 17 games reached “at least” a 5.0 household rating.

In addition to its ratings increases for its game telecasts, Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Lite experienced a season-to-season household ratings increase of 24%, while Kia Bulls Postgame Live ratings increased 32%.  Source for all television ratings information is provided by Nielsen Media Research. 

From a digital standpoint, Comcast SportsNet’s first season of live streaming its Bulls game telecasts on a variety of platforms experienced solid traffic thus far, as over FIVE MILLION total minutes have been consumed by Bulls fans choosing to access the games on CSNChicago.com and via NBA Sports’ Live Extra app.  On January 27 (Bulls at Golden State), the network enjoyed its highest digital traffic numbers to date as it was the most streamed game overall in minutes watched (326K), along with being the most streamed game in visits (5.8K) and live starts (12K).  Source for all digital traffic information is provided by Adobe Reports & Analytics.

Comcast SportsNet will begin its comprehensive 2015 NBA Playoffs “Hometown Call” coverage – featuring the Bulls in first round action against the division rival Milwaukee Bucks – starting this Saturday, April 18 at 5:00 PM CT with an expanded, one-hour edition of Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Lite hosted by Mark Schanowski and Will Perdue. Game 1 tip-off gets underway at 6:00 PM featuring the expert play-by-play and analysis of Neil Funk and Stacey King. 

In addition -- for the first time ever -- Comcast SportsNet’s live first round Bulls NBA Playoffs telecasts, including surrounding Bulls Pre/Postgame Live coverage, will be streamed live on CSNChicago.com and available via the NBC Sports Live Extra app on tablets and smart phones.  Authenticated Comcast SportsNet Chicago subscribers can watch live Bulls playoffs action from anywhere in the United States.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, and Cedar Falls (IA) Utilities.  For more information about CSN Chicago’s live streaming service of Bulls games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: csnchicago.com/page/live-extra-faq.

In addition, fans are urged to visit CSNChicago.com for up-to-the-minute Bulls playoffs news, live video stream of every Bulls post-game press conference, “Insider” reports from Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill), “Bulls Pulse” social media page, game previews/recaps/highlights, stats, and much more.  Fans can also follow Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls/NBA Playoffs coverage 24/7 on Twitter @CSNBulls and fans are urged to interact and have their voice heard throughout the playoffs by utilizing the hashtag #BullsTalk.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

crawford_usatoday.jpg
USA TODAY

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on Thursday:

1. Return of the Crow

The Blackhawks got their man back between the pipes after a 10-month layoff due to a concussion. And he looked like same old "Crow."

Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. He faced 12 shots and eight scoring chances in the first period, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest save he made was on a Michael Grabner breakaway in the third period, bailing out a turnover in the neutral zone.

"I think I felt better in the second and third," Crawford said. "But they really didn’t get that many opportunities early. It was nice. I think they flipped one in for the first one, so that was kind of good just to get in it and feel one early. We were close in that one all game and we created a lot. I thought [Antti] Raanta played really well.

"It was a tough, tough break at the end. Still felt I should have stopped that one. We were right there, we were creating a lot and gotta try to come up with that one. Just gotta forget about it and worry about the next game."

2. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews extend point streaks

The hot start continues for the Blackhawks' two leading scorers, both of whom assisted on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the second period to stretch their point streaks to six games. DeBrincat and Toews each have 10 points this season.

3. Overtime streak ends

The Blackhawks made history by forcing five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team has ever done in the four major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB). But they didn't have the comeback magic in them this time.

Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were 1-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 5-28-2 last season for a win percentage of .143.

4. Familiar faces, new places

Five former Blackhawks took the ice for the Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik and Antti Raanta.

It was Hjalmarsson's first trip back to Chicago since being traded in the 2017 offseason. He received a nice video tribute during the second TV timeout of the first period, which made him very emotional.

"I almost got emotional too seeing his reaction," Toews said. "He's one of those guys you'll never forget what he meant to this locker room. He was a quiet guy in the room but we all know how he played and put everyone else before himself. Pretty cool reaction from the fans too. I think we were all sad to see him leave this locker room, he did a lot of special things and was a massive part of our championship wins. Happy for him to get that reception. It's well-deserved and obviously we miss having him around."

As far as the game, Hjalmarsson logged a team-high 22:18 of ice time and blocked three shots. Oesterle registered a secondary assist on Arizona's first goal, which was its first 5-on-5 of the season.

Hinostroza, who was also part of the Marian Hossa trade over the summer, scored twice in his return to his hometown, beating Crawford with a wrist shot to make it 2-1 in the second period and an empty-netter in the third; his second goal turned out to be the game winner, the fourth of his career and first as a member of the Coyotes.

Panik recorded four shot attempts (three on goal). And Raanta improved to 16-0-3 in his career at the United Center, a remarkable record for any goaltender in any situation.

Could Ryan Arcidiacono be in line for more minutes?

arci.jpg
USA TODAY

Could Ryan Arcidiacono be in line for more minutes?

The Bulls backup point guard situation will be in dire straits all season, with no established veteran behind Kris Dunn. And although the front office has seemingly committed to Cameron Payne as the backup PG (for at least this season), Ryan Arcidiacono showed enough in the season opener to justify giving him meaningful plying time in the rotation. 

Here are the stat lines of Arcidiacono and Cameron Payne from the season opener in Philadelphia:

Arcidiacono: 8 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 2-for-3 from the 3-point line

Payne:           0 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound, 0-for-1 from the 3-point line

With so many capable ball handlers and score-first players on the Bulls, point and assist totals aren’t as important as the rebounds and 3-point attempts. To provide the necessary space needed for driving lanes, there has to be openings in the defense caused by defenders sticking close to player they believe are a threat to shoot.

And that is where the problem lies with Payne.

Ryan Arcidiacono—while by no means a dominant scorer—showed a willingness to attack off of the pick-and-roll, even showing off an impressive ball-fake:


Payne, despite coming into the league with the reputation of a scorer, has yet to be aggressive enough to make teams think twice about giving him wide-open on the perimeter. And he is not one to attack the basket with purpose, averaging less than half a free throw per game for his career. Payne's general lack of aggressiveness when on the floor is often times made worse by his occasional poor post entry passes that seem predetermined:

Even if the above play was designed to get the ball to LaVine in the mid-post, Payne chooses a terrible time to make the pass. When he starts the motion to give the ball to LaVine, Ben Simmons is positioned in front of LaVine to force a tougher pass, as rookie Landry Shamet gambles over the backside to get the steal.

Had Payne chose to swing the ball around the perimeter, or give it to Bobby Ports and then get it back, he could have created an opening for the LaVine pass.

Obviously, the Bulls 19-point loss can’t be blamed on solely on Payne, the terrible defense was a group effort, as was the sometimes questionable shot selection. But with the defense already appearing to be perhaps one of the league's worst units, Fred Hoiberg would be wise to put Arcidiacono in more.

Hoiberg is in a crucial year where he needs to show that he can be the head coach of this team when they finally become competitive.

And for Hoiberg to show that type of growth as a coach, he needs to set the tone that minutes are earned not given, something he has already started with his moving of Jabari Parker to the bench. Payne only received 22 minutes, compared to 28 minutes for Arcidiacono, and it is tough to see that changing if things continue on like they did on Thursday night.