Here’s some news and notes as we roll into the weekend.
NHL RATINGS NEWS
NHL preseason games aren’t considered a big draw television wise, but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday night. TSN reports that the debut of the new Winnipeg Jets brought in more than 490,000 viewers on TSN Jets. Even more amazing is that the TSN Jets channel is currently only available in 500,000 homes in the Jets television territory so virtually everyone with access to the channel sampled the game at one point. The total average of viewership for the game came in at an impressive 148,000.
On the other hand, things didn’t go nearly as well for the first ever preseason NHL game on Versus Wednesday night. Puck The Media reports via Son of the Bronx that the Flyers/Maple Leafs game drew a paltry 68,000 viewers. The ratings were obviously hurt by having the game blacked out in the Philadelphia market and probably by competition as NHL Network also aired a game Wednesday featuring the marquee teams of Pittsburgh and Detroit. It’s an interesting experiment for Versus and we’ll see if the ratings gain some steam.
AHL SIGNS WITH SPORTSNET
The good news is that the American Hockey League has signed a new TV deal with Rogers Sportsnet. The bad news is that it only covers the All-Star Game. The deal is for five years and includes coverage of the league’s skills competition. The AHL could use some more exposure and CBC aired some games last season so perhaps this will lead to some more TV time.
MSG LOSES FCC BATTLE
MSG Network has lost a battle with the FCC over network access on Verizon’s FIOS and AT&T’s U-Verse operations. The FCC has ruled that MSG is in violation of program access rules by withholding the HD feeds of MSG and MSG Plus from the TV providers. The networks in question carry Rangers, Devils and Islanders games. The FCC says that MSG has 30 days to comply with the ruling but the network plans to appeal. The battle is quite similar to the controversies that have surrounded Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia over the years. In that ruling, the FCC closed the terrestrial loophole, allowing CSN to air on satellite television. However, CSN has not come to any agreement over carriage so fans are still out of luck. A similar result could happen here.
NHL ON NHLN CANADA TV SCHEDULE RELEASED
In case you missed it, NHL Network Canada released their 2011-12 game broadcast schedule this past week. I’ve had them up on the site under the TV schedules page for a couple of days but I thought I’d also mention them on the main page as well. The 2011-12 NHL on NHL Network Canada Schedule features 31 games with action kicking off on October 14.