Curling Night in America season 7 begins tonight
Curling Night in America returns for a seventh season on NBCSN tonight.
The well-packed curling matches were filmed at the new Southern California Curling Center in Irvine, Calif. Less than a month ago and feature American champions taking on a variety of men’s, women’s and mixed-doubles teams from Canada, from Denmark and Germany.
The show used to air at 11 p.m. EST on Friday nights, but now airs Sunday nights at various times. This season, only two games are broadcast at 11 a.m. while four start at 10 p.m. (including tonight’s opening) and three at 9 p.m.
The four-man American entries were ignored by John Shuster and Tabitha Peterson, while new American champions Vicki Persinger and Chris Plys (who plays third for Shuster) replaced the reds, whites and blues in mixed doubles.
The nominations from Canada were interesting. Tyler Tardi’s young men’s team traveled down the west coast of British Columbia, while the women’s team was Jennifer Jones minus Jones’ quartet. Kaitlyn Lawes became captain while her rival from Winnipeg, third (for Team Fleury), Selena Njegovan intervened.
Representing the mixed doubles were the newly married couple of defending men’s champion Brendan Bottcher and new wife Bobbie Sauder.
The annual event is a partnership between USA Curling, NBC Sports Network, the World Curling Federation and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
A total of nine curling “shows” will be broadcast for a total of 18 hours on the network that has hosted US Olympic coverage (winter and summer) since 2000.
Ratings have traditionally been difficult to locate. During that inaugural 2015 season, the number of viewers ranged from 66,000 to 130,000. The latter figure was not bad, considering a) the day of the week and the time slot and b) the 198,000 who went. watched an NHL hockey game — Pittsburgh vs. Columbus — four hours earlier.
Across seven shows in 2020, Front Office Sports reported that “CNiA” averaged 85,000 viewers, up 21% from 2018. Two of the seven had attracted more than 100,000 eyeballs.
“We look forward to welcoming some of the best curling nations in the world as they participate in an event that has proven to stimulate engagement and promote growth within our sport,” said Jeff Plush, CEO of ‘USA Curling, at the time of filming. “The visibility and accessibility of curling will always be a top priority for the organization and as a result, we are thrilled to bring the sport to homes across the country through the NBC Sports Network. “