Saturday, June 26, 2010

Big Sports Markets Thrive

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

During the past 12 months, the network executives of FOX, NBC ABC and CBS had to be gleaming.

When was the last time the top three television markets won major championships to compliment a feel good story? Never! Read the rest of this blog and you'll see the "feel good story of the century."

In November, FOX hit a home run with two historic franchises as the New York Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees won their 27 championship and opened up their new stadium the same way they opened up their old one.

The No.1 media market in the country prevented the Phillies from repeating as World Champions.

The No.2 media market in the country, Los Angeles, won its second straight NBA title and earned revenge over the Boston Celtics, which defeated the Lakers two years ago. ABC had the opportunity to see superstar Kobe Bryant earn his fifth championship and he matched Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

ABC had a dream scenario as this series went seven games as the Lakers emerged with its 16 championship in franchise history, trailing the Celtics (17) by one for the most in NBA history.

I'll bet that ABC never thought it would see the Lakers and Celtics meet for the second time in three years since the Celtics had to defeat the Miami Heat led by Dwyane Wade, LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and the defending Eastern Conference Champions Orlando Magic, led by Dwight Howard. But ABC got lucky as it had the biggest rivalry in Pro Basketball.

When the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins met in the Stanley Cup Finals with each team winning a title on the others home ice, the NHL had to be thrilled as the model franchise faced it's upcoming star Sidney Crosby for two seasons in a row.

How could you top this when the Lakers and Celtics were battling on ABC? There had to be a lot of nervous executives at NBC as the Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks were marching their way through the playoffs.

But when the Chicago Black Hawks and Philadelphia Flyers match-up materialized, this six game series was a battle of long championship droughts.

The Flyers won a pair of titles during the "Broad Street Bullies" era in the mid 1970's. Meanwhile, Chicago's last championship occurred in 1961.

The Black Hawks, playing in the No.3 media market in the country turned the city of Philadelphia into a runner-up again by winning the Stanley Cup Championship. An Original Six team ousted an Original 12 squad.

For years, CBS held the rights to NFC games and televised the New Orleans Saints when they were known as the "Aints" and the fans wore bags over their heads at the Louisiana Superdome. The quarterback was Archie Manning.

In February, the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl by defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. The signal caller for the Colts happened to be Archie's son Peyton.

No Big Market teams were needed as the Saints triumph was the "feel good story of the century" after the area was blasted by Hurricane Katrina.

These four Championships saw two franchises enhance their traditions, while two others finally broke through. The Black Hawks broke a drought and Saints won their first.

In the end, each network made out quite well in the past 12 months in all professional sports.

During "March Madness" CBS was fortunate enough to have Duke playing Butler in the NCAA Championship Game.

It's was a good six week period for Indianapolis based teams while even though Philadelphia came up short twice, the City Of Brotherly Love still had a lot to cheer about.

It will be neat to see what transpires during the next 12 months but what I do know is that with these three top media markets, their respective parades produced some very large turnouts downtown as well as excellent television ratings.

There were nothing but winners during the past 12 months in sports.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be read at www.scottsports33.com.

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