Comcast SportsNet finds its niche with Blackhawks programming

Even though Comcast SportsNet hasn't aired a Blackhawks games since the first round of the playoffs, the network still is cashing in on the team's bid for a third Stanley Cup.

CSN has scored big numbers with its "Pre/Postgame Live" shows that bracket Blackhawks playoff games that air on NBC and NBCSN. A prime example occurred after Game 7 last Saturday. As soon as the Blackhawks finished off the Ducks, CSN went from a miniscule 0.1 (when the game was in its final quarter-hour) to a 1.83 rating for its postgame show, which translates to more than 60,000 homes tuning in. The next two quarter-hours (10:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.) were even bigger with 2.12 and 2.33 ratings; 1 local ratings point is worth nearly 35,000 homes.

The ratings should be even higher with the start of the Stanley Cup Final, which begins Wednesday night. Pat Boyle, the host of the shows, says the synergy with NBC, which owns CSN, has helped. Mike Emrick has promoted CSN's postgame shows on the game telecasts.

Boyle, though, believes the ratings success was a result of CSN's original plan when the network launched.

"Ten years ago when we started, I hoped we would create a niche where we would try to bookend the games with pre- and postgame shows," Boyle said. "It's takes a while to get the audience in that habit. But over time, we've shown those shows are ours."

Boyle does the shows with analyst Steve Konroyd and Jamal Meyers.

"They are two of the best in the business," Boyle said. "Jamal played on (the 2013 Stanley Cup team). While he knows most of the guys on the current team, he's not afraid to make a critical point. Steve has been doing this a long time. He's so good at breaking down the game for novice fans as well as the advanced fan."

Boyle, Konroyd and Meyers will be in studio Wednesday night, and then will be on site for the remainder of the series, starting Saturday in Tampa.