As Warriors and Sharks Play for Championships, San Francisco Stations Ride the Wave

By Mark Joyella 

San Francisco anchor Frank Somerville will tell you he’s a huge hockey fan–a San Jose Sharks fan, to be specific.

This week, that’s presented a challenge for Somerville, who anchors evening newscasts for Fox-owned KTVU. The Stanley Cup Finals, pitting the Sharks against the Pittsburgh Penguins, start in the market at 5 p.m. PT. Somerville doesn’t get off the set until 7. “I miss the first two periods of the game,” he wrote on Facebook.

So Somerville convinced KTVU director Melissa Sass–another Sharks fan–to route the game into the studio during commercial breaks (pictured, above). “Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do,” Somerville said. He got to watch the game, even though the Sharks have dropped the first two games of the series.

One championship on the line is usually enough to get local TV stations into full volume booster mode, but the San Francisco Bay Area has two at the same time–in the NHL and the NBA, where the Golden State Warriors open the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight. As Comcast SportsNet Bay Area put it, what a time to be alive:

ABC-owned KGO carries the NBA Finals, and the station has been encouraging viewers to use Twitter to share pictures of themselves urging the team on, using the hashtag #DubsOn7–and they’re doing it. The analytics company Hashtracking estimates the station’s effort has reached more than a million people before the series even begins.

KTVU reporter Alex Savidge was one of the reporters at the Oracle (sorry–“Roaracle”) Arena Thursday morning, a good 12 hours before tip off. He told TVSpy the double shot of potential championships has local stations providing “constant coverage,” though with an NBA re-match on tap tonight, there’s more “focus on the Warriors than the Sharks.”

While most stations had plenty of big news to cover Thursday, including an overnight standoff following the shooting of two police officers, and a San Jose appearance by Donald Trump, the two championships got plenty of time–and some creative efforts to find exclusive stories.

Cj-KIhpWkAASPQoKGO reporter David Louie had an unique sports story Thursday: he had an exclusive interview with a hospital-bound Warriors fan who actually scheduled her surgery so she wouldn’t miss the big game.

As KRON anchor Grant Lodes put it, there’s plenty of anticipation–and very high expectations for tonight’s game. “Get ready, LeBron.”

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