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Watching the L.A. Kings make history

The opening face-off in the first period of Game Three of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Los Angeles Kings could win their first Stanley Cup hockey championship ever tonight. But fans will have to pay a premium to see it whether they watch from the pricey seats at the Staples Center, in a sports bar or at home on cable TV.

Kai Ryssdal:Big doings tonight just down the street from us at the Staples Center here in L.A. Game 4 -- possibly the last game -- of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Los Angeles Kings versus the New Jersey Devils.

If the Kings win, it'll be the team's first Stanley Cup championship. Ever.

Only problem for fans? Even the nosebleed seats will set you back almost $1,000. Marketplace's Sarah Gardner reports, just watching it on TV is gonna cost you, too.


L.A. Kings game broadcaster: Here’s Williams’ breakaway pass. Anze Kopitar -- scores!

Sarah Gardner: If hockey fans want to watch their teams battle for the sport's biggest prize on TV tonight, they’ll have to pay. The game’s only on a cable channel called NBC Sports Network.

Scott Rosner: This is somewhat of a vexing issue.

The Wharton School’s Scott Rosner.

Rosner: Because NBC Sports Network is not what we call fully distributed in the U.S.

NBCSN reaches nearly 80 million homes but that leaves another 40 million or so up a creek without a hockey paddle. I mean, stick.

Lee Berke, CEO of LHB Sports, Entertainment and Media say get used to it sports fans.

Lee Berke: More games are migrating over to cable, and in return, they’re receiving substantial increases in rights fees which help finance the performance of a well-performing team like the Kings.

Like top-notch players and fancy arenas. But don’t hockey and other pro sports care about cutting off the fans who can’t afford those pricey cable channels?

John Ourand covers TV and media for Sports Business Journal.

John Ourand: Ironically, when sports go to cable, the average viewer actually gets much younger. So this is actually a way that sports leagues have used to get younger and to be more attractive to advertisers and bring in more money.

So modern day sports fans, get ready to pony up. And for all you hockey fans without NBC Sports Network tonight? Wharton’s Scott Rosner has a suggestion. Do what he used to do when he was a kid following the Philadelphia Flyers: Listen to the game on radio. Now there’s an idea.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.

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