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Beside The Points For Monday, Feb. 26, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Hockey took a major ratings hit

The numbers are in, and the NHL’s bar on participating in Olympic hockey in Pyeongchang certainly made the sport more skippable for viewers this year. The U.S. men’s victory over Russia in Sochi pulled in 4.1 million viewers, but a game this year against Slovakia drew only a third of that. However, the U.S. women’s win over Canada, which began at 11 p.m. Eastern, pulled in 2.9 million viewers, an NBCSN late night record. [The New York Times]

Canada had an awesome Olympic games

Despite losses in hockey and curling, the 2018 Olympics were a banner year for the Canadian delegation, leaving the games with 29 medals, 11 of which are gold. That’s the best Olympics for Canada ever. [NPR]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

America had a terrible Olympics

The Associated Press found the internal U.S. Olympic Committee document detailing expectations for the 2018 Olympics, and it’s a tough read. The USOC predicted a minimum of 25 medals, with a forecast of 37 medals and a high estimate of 59 medals. The underperformance here is huge: Team USA goes home with 23 medals, the fewest since 1998. [The Washington Post]

Lots of ‘pewter medals’ though

One reason for that immense shortfall is that 35 American athletes had to settle for a “pewter” medal, as in they finished just to the left of the podium in fourth, fifth or sixth place. That’s got to sting. [The Los Angeles Times]

Try out our super fun quiz, Which Winter Olympic Sport Is Best For You? I got ski jumping!

This new rule could change baseball

As part of the constant attempts of the MLB to make the game interesting for new fans who are a little reluctant to devote four and a half hours on every game, the league announced it’ll reduce the number of mound visits in the first nine innings of a game to six, which could ramp up miscommunications. [ESPN]

Bullish on Bortles

Blake Bortles signed a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, earning up to $66.5 million after incentives. Bortles had a stirring postseason but threw 51 interceptions from 2014 to 2016. [ESPN]


Big Number

+80.68

America fell in love with curling, again. This happens every four years. Ever since NBC broadcast 50 hours of curling in Nagano ’98, Americans have eaten up the sport, in many cases being consumed by it. Then they forget about it for the 206 weeks between olympic sessions. Curling is by far the largest Olympics bump of any winter sport, seeing its google search trend index jump a walloping 80.68 points in Olympic months compared to other months. [FiveThirtyEight]


Leaks from Slack:

neil:

U.S. men win curling gold, beat Sweden 10-7

!

chris.herring:

People stayed up to watch this at like 4!

tchow:

!!!!!


Predictions


Oh, and don’t forget
Tiger nails duck

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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