Kings ratings down, Game 4 on pay cable, Miller to record *

miller-fox.jpgThe Kings mistakenly tweeted last night that NBC had changed its mind and moved Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final — when Los Angeles could touch the Cup for the first time ever — to the main network feed. Nope. For whatever reasons, NBC is sticking with its original plan to broadcast the game only on NBCSN, the cable channel formerly known as Versus that is only available to most Angelenos on a premium tier on Time Warner Cable or the satellite dishes. If there is a Game 5, 6 or 7, those will be on real NBC.

But today, the Kings did confirm that the team's longtime TV announcers, Bob Miller and Jim Fox, will record an account of Game 4 for possible use later. Same for any subsequent games, Kings VP Mike Altieri tells Helene Elliott of the Times. Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News adds the fact that Miller and Fox will be displaced from their usual booth and will do the game in a section of the upper press box usually occupied by the Staples Center game operations crew. The Miller and Fox account may be heard by some fans inside the arena, but otherwise can't be broadcast under NBC's deal with the National Hockey League.

Update: The reason for airing the game on NBCSN is that NBC wants to drive traffic to its off channel before the London Olympics, when much of the coverage will be relegated to the cable channel. Hoffarth calls NBCSN the "NBC Witness Protection program," noting that "not even many L.A. sports bars have it on their menu. Let alone casual fans trying to find out what all the hockey comotion is all about."

Ratings for the Kings and Devils, meanwhile, have not been good. Saturday night's Game 2 attracted the smallest TV audience for a Stanley Cup Final since '07, even though that game was on the main NBC network, Hoffarth reports.

The Sports Business Daily reports that Saturday night's telecast was down 23 percent and 17 percent, respectively, from a 2.2 rating and 3.569 million viewers for the Boston-Vancouver Game 2 a year ago.

Game 1 was also down 33 percent from last season's Bruins-Canucks opener, a 1.8 Nielsen rating with 2.9 million viewers, making it the lowest-rated NHL Stanley Cup Final opener since the league returned the first game to broadcast TV in '09. The Bruins-Canucks opener did a 2.7 rating and had 4.6 million viewers, the most-watched Stanley Cup Final opener in 12 years.

Last night's Game 3 did draw the biggest audience on any network in Los Angeles during the 5 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. time period, and had the highest local rating ever in the LA market for an NHL game on NBCSN, Hoffarth says.

Off the ice: The Kings opted to stay off the ice Tuesday. No doubt they will hold a morning skate on Wednesday.

Photo: Let's Go

Updated post

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