SBD/Issue 163/Sports Media

Intriguing NHL Playoffs Not Bringing Viewers To Networks

Senators-Devils Ratings On The Slide

ABC's coverage of Senators-Devils Game Four Saturday from 3:00pm-5:45pm ET earned a 1.3/3 overnight Nielsen rating, down 41% from a 2.2/6 for the comparable Avalanche-Red Wings Game Four last year (THE DAILY). In Toronto, William Houston noted Senators-Devils Game Three Thursday on CBC "drew the smallest audience of the series: 1.017 million viewers." With Games One and Two posting 1.465 million and 1.478 million viewers, respectively, the Senators' three-game average is 1.32 million, "the poorest draw ever among Canadian teams for a conference final." Combining with the Mighty Ducks-Wild series, CBC's average conference final audience this year is 1.21 million, "a whopping decline of 46.5[%]" from last year's 2.26 million per game for Maple Leafs-Hurricanes and Avalanche-Red Wings. A "mistake in [Friday's] column incorrectly reported the audience decline as 80 percent" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/17).

WHERE'S THE BUZZ? In Chicago, Jennifer Jones wrote, "Even in Chicago, supposedly a big hockey market, there is little buzz about the playoffs. Sports-radio updates often ignore them completely, and there also are times when the games are not mentioned in sports segments on the local news. Many of my fellow sportswriters, who are willing to spend hours watching almost any sport, do not follow the NHL" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/18).

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