Of Pucks, Pizzas, Cheese Steaks and Comcast

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Team loyalty and bragging rights be damned.

Comcast SportsNet staffers in Chicago and Philadelphia have raised the personal ingestion — some might argue indigestion — stakes with their wager over the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, which faces-off from the United Center at 8 p.m. (ET) on May 29 on NBC.

Should the Philadelphia Flyers skate to the title, CSN Chicago will serve deep dish pizzas from the world-famous Giordano’s to CSN Philadelphia employees. If the Chicago Blackhawks hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, CSN Philadelphia will serve authentic Philly cheese steaks from the award-winning Campos to CSN Chicago’s camp.

“The Flyers have blown us all away on their journey to the Stanley Cup Final, and we look forward to enjoying some deep dish pizza from our friends in the Windy City,” said Brian Monihan, senior vice president and general manager of CSN Philadelphia.

“As much as we’re sure our friends in Philly would love a free lunch on us, we are definitely looking forward to a ‘Taste of Philadelphia’ in our offices come next month,” countered James Corno, president of CSN Chicago.

The Blackhawks have not donned the NHL diadem since the 1960-1961 season, while the Flyers have gone Cup-less since the “Broadstreet Bullies” won their second of back-to-back titles in 1974-75.

CSN Chicago workers, though, should note that while their squad may be favored and can host more series games in the Windy City, CSN Philadelphia holds a significant corporate home-ice advantage. Not only is it located in the cable giant’s hometown, its part of Comcast-Spectacor, which also owns the Flyers and the Wachovia Center, where the team skates. Comcast only owns a minority interest in CSN Chicago.

All kidding aside, the two RSNs are continuing to provide comprehensive coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs to fans in their markets, including specials and features, pre- and postgame coverage, and “Behind Enemy Lines” reports, featuring insights and analysis from experts from the other network. Their  pre- and postgame programming through the 2010 playoffs has attracted a combined average audience of 111,000 Chicago and Philadelphia sports fans, including on nights when games have aired on other outlets.

Versus, Comcast’s national sports network, of course, is getting in on the puck fun, too. It hopes to culminate a record-breaking Nielsen postseason for cable with its exclusive coverage of Cup Games 3 and Game 4 on June 2 and June 4, respectively, in the Wachovia Center. Rights renewal negotiations with the NHL are set to begin late this fall.

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