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TV Ratings Up Big for NHL in Time for New Deals
NEW YORK (AP) -- What if there's another Ottawa-Anaheim series?

Three years after a Stanley Cup finals game matched the lowest rating ever for a prime-time program on NBC -- sports or otherwise -- the NHL just had its highest-rated game in 36 years.

It's a rare feat in a fractured era of TV viewership, when established sports often draw significantly lower ratings than just a decade ago. Wednesday's decisive Game 6 earned a 4.7 rating, more than quadrupling the 1.1 for Game 3 of the Senators-Ducks series in 2007.

The NHL proved just how popular it can be when it gets a compelling matchup between two large-market, traditional teams. And just in time for it to negotiate new TV contracts: The deals with NBC and Versus expire after next season.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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