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A Few Scribbles

02 Dec

Here’s a few scribbles on NHL ratings and business as the weekend comes closer.

RATINGS UPDATE

We have some TSN ratings for you in addition to my prior post. TSN PR man Greg McIssac reports that Wednesday’s Toronto/Boston matchup drew a strong 1.27 million viewers on average. That’s not a surprise as the Leafs ratings continue to soar. Add in an rival and you have a very good number.

There’s been plenty of Boston Bruins ratings that have been leaking out lately. Each one seems to set a new record and that streak continues. Fang’s Bites reports that NESN had a record November with the B’s averaging a 5.3 rating. That’s up from the previous high of 4.0 which was garnered this past March.

The Bruins aren’t the only team with some impressive numbers. The Buffalo Sabres are always near the top of the ratings heap and their numbers are only growing. Ironically, the Bruins were involved in this one too. Puck The Media has the details –

The Buffalo Sabres’ tilt with the Boston Bruins on Nov. 23 drew the highest television rating so far this season for telecasts on MSG. The divisional matchup posted a 12.1 rating and a 20 share regionally. Ratings for the telecast actually peaked at 14.9 during the shootout when Boston’s Benoit Pouliot beat Jhonas Enroth to seal a 4-3 victory for the Bruins.

“The matchup was arguably the most anticipated of the season,” said Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black. Our fans are awesome and we are very pleased and humbled by the fact that for the second straight month, the Buffalo Sabres’ television ratings on MSG continue to lead all US-based NHL teams.”

The 12.1 rating indicates that 12.1 percent of television-equipped households were tuned into the game at some point during the broadcast and the 20 share means 20 percent of households watching TV in the region Wednesday night were watching the game.

Last Wednesday’s ratings were the highest among the 19 Sabres games broadcast on MSG so far this season. The second-most viewed contest was the team’s home opener against Carolina on Oct. 14, which drew an 11.5 rating and 18 share regionally.

On average, MSG telecasts of Sabres games have earned an 8.81 rating regionally so far this season. The team posted the highest ratings in three years during the month October when telecasts drew an average rating of 8.3.

BLUE JACKETS GET A NEW REPORTER 

When John Michael was named the new radio voice of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, that left the Columbus Blue Jackets searching for a new reporter. With the NBA lockout coming towards an end, the Jackets and Fox Sports Ohio have made their choice. Natalie Taylor will join Fox’s coverage beginning on December 8. Taylor is somewhat familiar to Ohioans as she’s previously worked in Columbus and for FS Ohio. Additionally, Taylor does have hockey in her past. She spent two years as the Atlanta Thrashers sideline reporter on SportSouth.

FORBES NHL VALUES

One of the most controversial things to come out every year is Forbes’ NHL valuations. The latest have been released and Toronto continues to hold the number one spot. The New York Rangers, Montreal, Detroit and Boston round out the top five. For more insight on the rankings and the league’s financial growth, check out Puck Drunk Love’s interview with Forbes Sr. Editor Kurt Badenhausen.

NHL SEES STRONG SALES OVER HOLIDAY WEEKEND

The Thanksgiving weekend brought record sales to NHL.com and the NHL store. From NHL.com –

The League saw strong sales growth of its licensed product over the holiday shopping weekend (Nov. 26 -29), illustrating an increased fan demand.

North American retail sales are up 11 percent post Black Friday, while NHL team store and concessionaires are up 15 percent in per cap sales year-to-date. Products driving sales growth include NHL Video Games, specifically EA Sports NHL 11 (up 20 percent), 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic apparel (up 41 percent), women’s apparel (up 52 percent), men’s apparel (up 22 percent), and Franklin NHL street hockey equipment (up 32 percent).

The NHL has also once again registered record-setting merchandise sales at both the NHL Powered by Reebok Store and at Shop.NHL.com over the Thanksgiving weekend. NHL Powered by Reebok recorded its largest Black Friday sales figures in the four year history of the New York City store with a 7 percent increase over last year’s record-breaking sales. The record-setting Thanksgiving weekend generated additional momentum in sales figures for the store. For the full month of November, sales were up 16 percent this year compared to last, and overall store sales this year (Jan.-Nov. 2010) have increased 9 percent from 2009.

Shop.NHL.Com experienced its second-highest grossing sales day ever on Black Friday with a remarkable 153 percent increase for the day over 2009. The highest grossing sales day to date on Shop is still the day after the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.   Remarkably, 50 percent of customers on Black Friday were new to Shop.NHL.com.

The top-five selling items on Shop.NHL.com from Black Friday through Cyber Monday were:

* Reebok Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 Winter Classic Premier Jersey
* Reebok New York Rangers Premier Third Jersey
* Reebok Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 NHL Winter Classic Hooded Sweatshirt
* Reebok Philadelphia Flyers Premier Home Jersey
* Warner Home Video Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin Great 8 DVD

SPONSORSHIP UPDATE

Finally, there’s some sponsorship news out there that I have Tweeted but I haven’t posted about them so here we go. First off, you’ve probably noticed all those ads and rink signage for “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” the new movie that will be released on December 21. The ads are part of a deal the league signed with Paramount Pictures. According to Variety, the league has long suited a film studio for a deal and it now has its wish.

And earlier this week, Visa Canada renewed its deal with the league. The new pact is for three years and makes Visa the official payment card of the NHL in Canada. While this is confusing, the deal doesn’t affect the league’s sponsorship with Discover in the US. The two companies have the same branding but can only use it for the country they are paying for, so don’t expect any Visa commercials on NBC and Versus anytime soon.

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