Tom Mayenknecht: New York City is on top of the sports business world

Opinion: The New York Rangers are the most popular team in the NHL, winners of seven straight games to start the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Article content

Bulls of the week

It’s a great time to be a sports fan in New York City, the largest sports market in North America and the epicenter of the sports business, from television, radio and ticket sales to advertising, clothing and merchandising.

Article content

On the one hand, the New York Knicks are the richest franchise in contention for NBA honors this spring, valued by New York-based Forbes magazine at $6.6 billion. They enter the weekend with a commanding lead in their second-round series against the Indiana Pacers after defeating the Miami Heat in the first round. In the other corner, the $2.65 billion New York Rangers are the NHL’s most popular team, winners of seven straight games to start the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Advertisement 2

Article content

It’s an unusually effervescent moment for Madison Square Garden Sports & Entertainment CEO and Managing Partner James Dolan. Normally criticized for his litigious management style, his thin skin and his poisoned relationships with former Knicks players, Dolan is actually basking in the glow of the biggest week in Big Apple sports in decades.

New York Knicks vs Indiana Pacers
Jalen Brunson #11 high-fives Josh Hart #3 of the New York Knicks after game two of the Eastern Conference second round playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on May 8, 2024 in the city from New York. Elsa’s photo /fake images

From Sunday to Wednesday, MSG and its broadcast rights holders had four consecutive games and national broadcasts on as many nights at Madison Square Garden (more than 4.2 million watching the Knicks’ wins and 1.9 million watching the double Rangers overtime victory over Carolina Hurricanes).

Television numbers, social media mentions and secondary market ticket sales will go off the charts if the Knicks and Rangers advance against the Celtics and Bruins next week. The conference championship series between Knicks-Celtics and Rangers-Bruins would be multi-generational in its appeal, especially given the pent-up demand for such an event. The Celtics and Bruins have made several runs to their respective Finals over the past 13 years, but it’s been 30 years since the Knicks and Rangers were in this position.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Meanwhile, in the most popular hockey television entry in years, Game 7 of the first-round series between the Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs drew an average audience of 5.5 million Canadians on Hockey Night in Canada on CBC and Rogers Sportsnet and 3.24 million Americans on ABC and ESPN south of the border. That’s nearly nine million across the two countries, representing the seventh-largest first-round game in NHL history.

However, there was nothing hotter on sports television last week than the three-way finish won “by a nostril” by Mystic Dan in the historic 150th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky . The average audience drew 16.7 million Americans, making it the largest Derby since the 18.5 million who watched it on ABC in 1989. The peak audience of 20.1 million on NBC was the largest ever.

That spectacular three-way finish highlighted the golden trifecta of the sports business that also included the debut of a new facility at Churchill Downs and an on-site crowd of 157,000.

Bears of the week

Pick ’em: Another first-round exit and heartbreak for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, one that already led to the firing of head coach Sheldon Keefe? Or a fall from grace and a first-round exit for the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights? Both lost in seven, but at least Golden Knights fans can bask in the spotlight of a Stanley Cup and two Finals appearances in seven years.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Tom Mayenknecht hosts The Sport Market on Sportsnet 650 on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Vancouver-based sports business commentator and principal at Emblematica Brand Builders offers a behind-the-scenes look at the sports business stories that matter most. fans. Follow Mayenknecht on:

Recommended by Editorial

Bookmark our website and support our journalism: Don’t miss the news you need to know – add and to your favorites and subscribe to our newsletters here.

You can also support our journalism by becoming a digital subscriber: for just $14 a month, you can get unlimited access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The province.

Article content

Leave a Comment