SBD/Issue 142/The Back of the Book

NHL National, Regional Nets See Year-Over-Year Ratings Gains

By Austin Karp, Research Associate

Ratings for the NHL on its national broadcast partners were up this regular season, as NBC and Versus both saw gains. NBC, which was buoyed by a 2.2 final Nielsen rating for the Amp Energy Winter Classic on New Year's Day, saw ratings for its 10 NHL telecasts average a 1.0, up slightly from a 0.9 for nine telecasts last year, and even with '05-06. Outside of the New Year's Day game, no NHL telecast on the net cracked a 1.0 rating. On Versus, the net averaged a 0.3 coverage area rating, up from a 0.2 for each of the two prior seasons. Versus also saw year-over-year gains in HHs (+20.3%) and viewers (+28.3%). The network saw its most-viewed regular-season game on March 31 for Rangers-Penguins, which drew 358,925 HHs and 527,985 viewers.

'08 NHL ON NBC
SEASON
GMS
AVG. RATING
'08
10
1.0
'07
9
0.9
'06
6
1.0
'07-08 NHL ON VERSUS
SEASON
GMS
COVERAGE AREA RATING
HHs
VIEWERS
'07-08
58
0.3
192,675
272,417
'06-07
56
0.2
160,134
212,366
'05-06
58
0.2
116,852
162,161

On the RSN side, 15 NHL teams saw increases in HH ratings from last season. FSN North saw the biggest gains among all RSNs, jumping 158.6% for its Wild telecasts, while the Blues also saw healthy gains, up 68.3% on FSN Midwest. CSN, which has the rights to four NHL teams, saw its average ratings jump 31% as three of its four teams made the playoffs. The Capitals and LW Alex Ovechkin led the way for CSN as the team jumped 75% in HH ratings on CSN Mid-Atlantic. The four teams on MSG and MSG Plus -- Rangers, Islanders, Sabres and Devils -- also saw an increase in ratings this season, with each of the franchises ranking in the top 10 among U.S. teams in ratings gains from last season. Nine teams saw RSN ratings declines this season. Despite last season's first playoff appearance for the Thrashers, the club saw the biggest decline, down 58.8%, as the team failed to reach the postseason this year. Despite qualifying for the playoffs, the Bruins, Avalanche, Predators and Stars all saw RSN declines. The following lists RSN ratings for each NHL team based in the U.S.

'07-08 NHL RSN RATINGS
TEAM
RSN
GMS
AVG. HH RATING
'07-08
AVG. HH RATING
'06-07
% +/-
Wild
FSN North
45
2.87
1.11
158.6%
Rangers
MSG
57
1.16
0.62
87.1%
Islanders
MSG Plus
62
0.23
0.13
76.9%
Capitals
CSN Mid-Atlantic
75
0.70
0.40
75.0%
Blues FSN Midwest
40
2.07
1.23
68.3%
Sabres MSG
74
8.50
5.10
66.7%
Panthers FSN Florida
70
0.29
0.19
52.6%
Devils MSG Plus
66
0.33
0.23
43.5%
Flyers CSN Philadelphia
62
2.30
1.70
35.3%
Red Wings FSN Detroit
70
4.74
3.55
33.5%
Hurricanes FSN South
55
1.30
1.00
30.0%
Ducks FSN Prime Ticket
65
0.31
0.25
24.0%
Blue Jackets FSN Ohio
75
1.15
0.95
21.1%
Penguins FSN Pittsburgh
70
5.99
5.22
14.8%
Sharks CSN Bay Area
60
0.90
0.80
12.5%
Coyotes FSN Arizona
40
0.31
0.32
-3.1%
Kings FSN West
70
0.29
0.30
-3.3%
Bruins NESN
74
1.50
1.60
-6.3%
Avalanche Altitude
66
1.50
1.70
-11.8%
Blackhawks CSN Chicago
48
0.60
0.80
-25.0%
Lightning Sun Sports
69
0.65
0.89
-27.0%
Predators FSN South
55
0.70
1.00
-30.0%
Stars FSN Southwest
41
0.41
0.59
-30.5%
Thrashers SportSouth
60
0.14
0.34
-58.8%

NOTES: *  = The Ducks had 41 telecasts on FSN Prime Ticket and 24 on FSN West, while the Kings had 61 telecasts on FSN West and 9 telecasts on FSN Prime Ticket. Ratings listed for each team is the combined rating for the two nets.

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