SBJ/February 6-12, 2017/Research and Ratings

Blue Jackets boost RSN rating; familiar names top NHL list

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It appears that the ratings juggernaut that was the presidential election affected ratings for local NHL games. NHL ratings on regional sports networks dropped a combined 7 percent through the All-Star Game.

NHL ratings, in general, have picked up after the slow start, and media executives believe they will mirror last year’s ratings.

The Wild’s first-place position in the West has been a boon to ratings.
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SportsBusiness Journal collected ratings information for 21 U.S.-based teams. Information on the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators was not available. Ratings also were not available for the league’s seven Canadian teams.

Twelve of the teams posted ratings declines. The Colorado Avalanche have seen the largest drop, down 57 percent, as the team is on pace to finish with one of the NHL’s worst records in the last decade. Despite currently being playoff bound, the Anaheim Ducks are down 46 percent.

Nine teams saw their ratings increase over last season, led by the Columbus Blue Jackets, whose ratings are up 110 percent after the team reeled off 16 straight victories earlier this season. While the New Jersey Devils have struggled, their acquisition of star winger Taylor Hall has boosted their ratings 58 percent.

After dethroning the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the NHL’s local TV ratings chart last season, the Buffalo Sabres again have the league’s highest ratings. Sabres games on MSG are averaging a 6.43 rating, down slightly from last season.

Another good-news story is happening in Minnesota, where the Wild vaulted into the top five. Ratings are up 23 percent on FS North for the team, which sits in first place in the Western Conference.

NHL Teams' RSN Ratings

AVERAGE RATING

TOP 5
team rsn avg. rating (change)
TOP 5
Sabres MSG 6.43 (-5%)
Penguins Root 5.56 (+2%)
Blues FS Midwest 4.26 (+22%)
Wild FS North 3.91 (+23%)
Blackhawks CSN Chicago 3.12 (-20%)
BOTTOM 6
TEAM RSN AVG. RATING (CHANGE)
Devils MSG Plus 0.41 (+58%)
Stars FS Southwest 0.41 (-33%)
Coyotes FS Arizona 0.40 (-2%)
Islanders MSG Plus 0.29 (-31%)
Panthers FS Florida 0.27 (+35%)
Ducks Prime Ticket 0.21 (-46%)

AVG. RATING CHANGE

TOP 5
TEAM RSN CHANGE (AVG. RATING)
Blue Jackets FS Ohio +110% (1.97)
Devils MSG Plus +58% (0.41)
Panthers FS Florida +35% (0.27)
Wild FS North +23% (3.91)
Flyers CSN Philly +23% (2.67)
Bottom 5
TEAM RSN CHANGE (AVG. RATING)
Red Wings FS Detroit -28% (2.16)
Islanders MSG Plus -31% (0.29)
Stars FS Southwest -33% (0.41)
Ducks Prime Ticket -46% (0.21)
Avalanche Altitude -57% (0.73)

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