SBD/Issue 144/Sports Media

National NHL Ratings Down For NBC, But N.Y. Provides A Boost

NBC’s Ratings Down For Game
Two Of Flames-Red Wings Series
NBC earned a 1.0/2 final Nielsen rating for its national coverage of Flames-Red Wings Game Two last Sunday, down 28.6% from a 1.4/4 for regional coverage during the opening Sunday of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The net’s regional coverage last Saturday earned a 1.0/3, down 9.1% from a 1.1/3 last year (THE DAILY).

APPLE DUMPLINGS: The NHL Rangers averaged a 1.51 cable rating for their three first-round playoff games against the Thrashers that aired on MSG Network, a 12% increase over the two Devils-Rangers games on MSG in the first round last year. Game One of the Rangers’ four-game sweep aired on NBC last Saturday. In addition, the Rangers’ ratings grew game-to-game, with the 1.72 cable rating for Wednesday night’s Game Four marking the highest rating for a Rangers game on the net since the lockout. Meanwhile, the Devils, who are tied 2-2 with the Lightning, are averaging a 0.68 cable rating for the first four games of the playoffs on Fox Sports New York, up 37% over the 0.50 for the two Devils-Rangers playoff games on FSNY last year. The Islanders, down 3-1 to the Sabres, are averaging a 0.71 cable rating in the playoffs on FSNY and MSG, which have split the games (THE DAILY). With seven N.Y. teams in action Wednesday night, the Yankees game on YES Network drew a 4.1 cable rating, followed by the Mets on SNY with a 2.1. The Rangers’ 1.7 on MSG topped the Islanders’ 0.8 on FSNY and the Devils’ 0.4 on an FSNY spillover channel Bulls-Nets earned a 1.0 on WWOR-MYT and a 1.1 on ESPN, “a combined audience more than 10 times as large” as the Knicks’ 0.2 on an MSG spillover channel (NEWSDAY, 4/20).

NORTHERN LIGHTS: TSN drew 554,000 viewers Wednesday night for Sabres-Islanders Game Four and 557,000 for Predators-Sharks, increasing its average for the playoffs to 411,000, up 26% from last season. The CBC on Tuesday averaged 1.75 million viewers for Senators-Penguins Game Four, followed by 1.375 million for Flames-Red Wings Game Three (TORONTO SUN, 4/20).

DUCK AND COVER: The Ducks averaged a 0.63 cable rating in L.A. through the first four games of their series against the Wild. Game One aired on FSN West and Game Three aired on FSN Prime Ticket, while Games Two and Four aired on KDOC-Ind, which posted a 0.8 for Game Four, marking its highest rating ever for a Ducks game. The Ducks’ seven-game first-round series against the Flames last season averaged a 0.58 in the market (L.A. TIMES, 4/20).

Writer Feels NHL Needs
Rangers In Finals

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: In THE HOCKEY NEWS, Larry Brooks writes the NHL needs the Stanley Cup Finals “to go six or seven games in order to build momentum and storylines on NBC.” The league also “needs the Rangers and the Red Wings to play for the Stanley Cup. ... Having New York in the final trumps even [Penguins C Sidney Crosby, whose team was eliminated on Thursday]” (THE HOCKEY NEWS, 4/17 issue). In N.Y., Bob Raissman cites one theory that says “the deeper the Rangers, perceived as having national marquee value, go in the playoffs, the more fans, most of them casual NHL viewers, will hop on the bandwagon” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/20). Also in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, “As long as all three New York-area hockey teams made the playoffs, might not the TV-ratings starved NHL scheduled one of them to play on a different night than the other two? On two occasions they all had to play their first-round weeknight games head-to-head-to-head” (N.Y. POST, 4/20).

CELEB BLOGS: Christie Brinkley’s Stanley Cup Playoffs blog on has generated more than 160,903 page impressions since its April 9 debut, while rapper Lil’ Jon’s blog ranks second with 102,129 (THE DAILY).

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