NBC's NHL Opener Draws Best Non-Winter Classic Regular-Season Rating Since '02
NBC earned a 2.0 overnight for the season-opening NHL telecast on Saturday, which featured regionalized coverage of Blackhawks-Kings and Penguins-Flyers. That figure marks the best regular-season (non-Winter Classic) overnight on any net since ’02. The net drew a 19.4 local rating in Pittsburgh for the telecast, a 7.8 rating in Philadelphia and a 6.6 rating in Chicago, marking record local figures for each market (excluding Winter Classics). Meanwhile, Flyers-Sabres telecast on NBC yesterday drew a 1.4 overnight, which is tied with the Feb. 19 “Hockey Day in America” early window last year as the best overnight delivery for a regular-season NHL Sunday broadcast since '00. The game drew a 22.3 local rating in Buffalo, marking NBC's best figure in that market for a regular-season NHL broadcast (excluding Winter Classics). NESN also saw record local figures for the Rangers-Bruins telecast on Saturday, as the 9.4 local rating in Boston marked the best ever for a regular-season game. NESN’s previous high was an 8.9 rating for Canucks-Bruins on January 7, 2012 (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Rob Rossi noted Root Sports Pittsburgh earned a 6.7 local rating in Pittsburgh for the Penguins' Black & Gold scrimmage on Wednesday night (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 1/19).SHAKING OFF THE RUST: In Philadelphia, Ed Barkowitz noted NBC "opened its hockey window Saturday afternoon by showing Kings fans going crazy" as the team lifted its Stanley Cup championship banner. It was not until 3:35pm ET that NBC "mentioned the network was switching to the Flyers-Penguins, which fans didn't know hadn't started yet." Calls to the net were "met with busy signals." At 3:36pm, an "alert appeared that 'The Flyers Game is starting soon. Stay Tuned!'" The "puck dropped on the Flyers season" at 3:39pm (PHILLY.com, 1/19). ALLTHINGSD.com's Ina Fried noted there were "widespread reports from paying subscribers" to the NHL's GameCenter Live streaming app that they were "unable to load any of the promised live video from opening night." The NHL "acknowledged the issues in a Twitter posting Saturday night" (ALLTHINGSD.com, 1/19).
TOUCHING GESTURE: In Tampa, Tom Jones notes the Kings "brought a family that lost a child in the Newtown, Conn., shootings last month to help them raise their Stanley Cup banner before Saturday's season opener." Jones: "Great job by NBC to bring everyone the ceremony before switching its coverage to regional telecasts" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/21).