Category Archives: NBC

Ratings Update

I haven’t posted much when it comes to weekly ratings lately so I’m past due.

These Canadian BBM Ratings are sourced from The Remote Control Blog.


TSN WJC Pregame 905,000
TSN Finland/Canada 2,210,000


Sportsnet Ontario Toronto @ Florida 813,000


TSN WJC Pregame 812,000
TSN Czech Republic/Canada 2,484,000
TSN Vancouver @ San Jose 931,000


TSN WJC Pregame 883,000
TSN Denmark/Canada 1,829,000


TSN USA/Czech Republic 684,000


CBC Winter Classic Alumni 416,000
CBC Regional 7 PM (Tor/Wpg, Mtl/Fla) 1,595,000
CBC Vancouver @ Los Angeles 760,000
TSN WJC Pregame 831,000
TSN USA/Canada 2,718,000


The Voice of TV has a complete recap of Versus ratings from November 28-December 14. The high for that period was Philadelphia/Buffalo (585k, 12/7) while the low was San Jose/Colorado (193k, 12/13).

Puck The Media has some numbers courtesy of TVSportsratings on Twitter. The debut NBC Sports Network game featuring San Jose @ Vancouver drew a respectable 267,000. Considering that it went up against the Fiesta Bowl and featured a Canadian club, that’s not too bad. It was also a season high for a game that featured the Sharks. Other games from earlier drew similar numbers. Dallas/St. Louis (270k, 12/26) and NY Rangers/Washington (327k, 12/28) had to be slight disappointments since both games were exclusive telecasts.


NBC Winter Classic Ratings Down

As expected, the Winter Classic on NBC saw a drop in viewership. From John Ourand of SportsBusiness Daily –

SBD: NBC’s Winter Classic overnight is a 2.4, down from last year’s 2.8 (in primetime on New Year’s Day) and ’10’s 2.6 on New Year’s Day.

The local ratings –

One more Winter Classic ratings tidbit: the game pulled an 11.9 overnight in Philly; and a 4.3 overnight in New York

To add to these numbers, the inaugural game had a 2.6, while the ’09 edition had a 2.9. Why are these numbers not a surprise?

  1. The time change helped confuse viewers. I’m sure the diehards showed up but some casual viewers might’ve gone elsewhere and never came back.
  2. The game aired on a Monday afternoon. While many people had the day off, just as many were at work unlike on an actual holiday. That was reflected in college football’s ratings as well.
  3. This game didn’t air in primetime. That certainly boosted the numbers last year even though there were plenty of NHL games airing against it regionally.
  4. There was some stiff competition including a college football overtime thriller on ABC. That game featured Michigan State, which meant that a key NHL market was likely going back and forth between events.
  5. This game lacked buzz. I just didn’t feel the buzz as I did prior games. It wouldn’t surprise me if others felt the same way. Yes, I was interested, but it just didn’t captivate me, especially after the Sid/Ovie hype of last year or the Original 6 battle in 2009. Perhaps it was the rather boring venue as Fenway Park, Wrigley bring cache, Citizens Bank Park doesn’t.

While the NHL has to be a little disappointed in these numbers, these are still very good ratings for any hockey game. Looking at the bigger picture, that’s a positive. Here’s the total viewership via Darren Rovell –

3.74 million watch 2012 Winter Classic, up 2% vs last afternoon game (2010). Is the 5th most watched regular season NHL game since ’75

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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in NBC, NHL, Ratings, Television


A Few Thoughts

Here’s a few thoughts to get 2012 started.

  • Overall, the folks at NBC did a decent job with the Winter Classic. Sure, there was Mike Milbury’s verbal gaffe but things went pretty well. They did a nice job showing the warm ups although the audio kept dropping out on some of the mics. Fortunately, those problems were fixed as the telecast went on. There were some great visuals and sometimes the audio was too good as there were plenty of expletives overheard. The new NBC graphics are solid. They certainly reminded me of ESPN.
  • Some of the minuses include the so-called “NHL Pregame” that took over the 1 PM slot. Let’s call it what it was – a repeat of NBC Sports: A Storied Journey. That’s a fine documentary but there’s little hockey involved. We were also treated to a promo video hyping the London Olympics, something that doesn’t go with hockey what so ever. This led to a short discussion about the Vancouver games. It seemed awkward, even if it was filler.
  • Another minus were some of NBC’s talent. Jeremy Roenick was there, at least for a little bit. I realize he was in town for alumni purposes, among other things, but he was barely utilized on the telecast before heading back to Stamford for the game on NBCSN. And I know they want this to be a big “event” but Bob Costas and Jim Cantore add little to the broadcast. Costas is a fine host but so is Liam McHugh. McHugh works the NHL all year-long, he deserves the TV time. It seems kinda rotten to demote your regular host just because this is labeled a special event. Costas wasn’t even around for the early filler programming, as Mike Emrick helmed the studio. As far as Cantore goes, there isn’t much that he says that anyone couldn’t figure out by looking at the flags or a radar.
  • Moving on to the new NBC Sports Network, Cold War on Ice was terrific. CBC had a two-part movie on the Summit Series a few years ago, but they or TSN would be wise to pick this up. Unlike NHL 36 which was a letdown, Cold War was riveting from start to finish. With all the delays and scheduling shuffles, viewers might’ve missed this, but its appointment viewing for any hockey fan. This was a very good way to kick off the new NBCSN even if it was for a very niche audience. And, if you haven’t read it yet, check out Puck Daddy’s eulogy on Versus. It’s a funny summary and shows just how far the network has come from its OLN days.
  • Backtracking a little bit, the Versus coverage of the Winter Classic Alumni Game was a little shaky. The unique collaboration was an improvement over last year’s coverage which was tape delayed and completely chopped up. Jim Jackson and Kevin Weekes were their usual selves although there were a few times that Jim seemed lost and Weekes seemed to lean on cliches a little too much. Al Trautwig brought his dramatic flair to the proceedings. The real negative was Steve Coates. While at times he was humorous, he was also a mess. Many times he failed to identify who he was interviewing and just starting joking and chatting with them. That would be fine if we knew who he was talking to. This happened repeatedly, and as a relatively younger viewer, I didn’t always know who these people were. Thank goodness that graphics were usually shown at some point. Coates was just too silly and didn’t cut it.
  • While NBCSN got off to an ominous start with the delayed game, things didn’t go much better for NHL Network. A key to NHLN’s new look was their coverage of the World Junior Hockey Championships. It was promoted heavily in promos, including some featuring former Team USA players cheering this year’s team on. With USA bombing, the hype is largely over for this tourney and NHLN will lose some eyeballs. At least their Winter Classic coverage was pretty good.
  • And while the WJC were disappointing in the States, TSN is hauling in huge crowds. The first three Hockey Canada games averaged 2.3 million viewers. The tournament continues to get larger each year. With the TV rights expiring in 2014, you have to believe that Hockey Canada will be bringing in some serious dollars, just from broadcasting alone. That doesn’t count any other revenues like rink advertising as Hockey Canada is a partner with the IIHF sharing virtually all of the tourney’s revenue streams.

Posted by on January 3, 2012 in NBC, NHL, NHL Network, Ratings, Television, TSN, Versus


The Updated NBC Winter Classic Schedule

In an ominous sign for this year’s Winter Classic and the launch of the new NBC Sports Network, the game’s start has been delayed. This means a shuffle in NBCSN’s much hyped opening day. From a NBC Press Release –

The 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, which was scheduled to air tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET, will now start at 3 p.m. ET on NBC to facilitate optimal game conditions, the NHL announced today. NBC Sports will still begin its live Winter Classic pre-game coverage at 1 p.m. ET with live interviews, features and other content.

The NHL said in a statement that the revised start time is based on tomorrow’s weather forecast and should offer optimal game conditions for players and fans.

NBC’s coverage of the Winter Classic will be hosted by Costas, a 22-time Emmy Award-winner. He will be joined by NBC Sports Group studio analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick for coverage on NBC and post-game coverage on NBC Sports Network. NBC’s game coverage will be led by Emmy Award-winner Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play) Eddie Olczyk (analyst), and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter).

The NBC Sports Network (currently VERSUS) will still launch at 4 p.m. ET with a special edition of NBC SportsTalk leading into a Winter Classic post-game show at the conclusion of the game.

The new NBC Sports Network will continue with hockey-themed programming at 6 p.m. ET with the premiere of Cold War on Ice: Summit Series ’72 produced by Ross Greenburg. The documentary focuses on the hockey series played in 1972 between a team of Canadian NHL all-stars and the Soviet Union national team during the height of the Cold War.

Cold War on Ice will be followed by NHL Live at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Vancouver Canucks hosting the San Jose Sharks at 8 p.m. ET. NHL Live post-game and NHL Overtime will end the NBC Sports Network’s first day.

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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in NBC, NHL, Television


Milbury Case Dismissed

Via The Boston Herald –

Ex-Bruin Mike Milbury will not face any charges and his case over an alleged confrontation in Brookline with a boy following a peewee hockey game earlier this month has been thrown out.

Milbury’s legal team announced this afternoon that a clerk magistrate at Brookline District Court has ruled there is not enough evidence to move ahead in the case.

Milbury addressed the media right after saying the incident was just “an unfortunate misunderstanding.”

When asked when he will be back on the air as a hockey analyst, Milbury said he was saving his voice for “Christmas caroling.”

His attorney, Mark Berthiaume, said the magistrate ruled there was no probable cause to take the next step in court.

“Mike and his family are are happy to move on,” said Berthiaume. “Mike will be returning to work on the air very, very soon.”

The parents of the alleged victim have left court refusing to speak to the press. Their attorney, John Burke, said the parents are “disappointed” in the ruling.

“They are concerned about the message this sends because they believe that their son was assaulted,” he added.

Milbury is expected to be back in usual spots on TV as a result of this decision.

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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in CBC, NBC, NHL, Television, Versus


Mike Milbury Accused Of Assaulting Child

This is an interesting story, assuming it is all accurate. There’s not much info out there about it yet, so it’s hard to say what happened. From WCVB

A former Boston Bruin and current TV analyst has been charged with assault and battery on a child.

Michael Milbury, who currently works as a hockey analyst for Versus NHL, was accused of assaulted a 12-year-old youth hockey player at the Dexter School Ice Rink in Brookline last week.
Milbury is an assistant coach of a local hockey team, and the alleged victim is a player from an opposing team.

Milbury played 12 seasons for the Bruins and was head coach for one season.

More details from the Boston Herald

The incident allegedly occurred at the end of the Winter Classic between the Boch Blazers for whom Milbury coaches and his son plays forward vs. the Boston Junior Black Hawks. It is alleged that after Milbury’s son and a player for the Black Hawks got into a scrape on the ice, Milbury charged out onto the rink and verbally berated and grabbed and shook the 12-year-old opposing player.

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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in CBC, NBC, NHL, Television, Versus


News & Notes

Here’s a few news items.


First off, let’s start with a quote from David Shoalts’ latest column

NHL chief operating office John Collins will have good news to report about the league’s business in Europe and Asia. After a slow start, the television rights to the league’s overseas markets are now sold, with a deal in Russia the latest to fall into place.

In a confidential memo to the governors two years ago, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league took in $14-million (all figures U.S.) in European television rights, which it split 50-50 with Comcast, which then owned Versus, the league’s main U.S. carrier. Bettman also outlined a strategy of building the league’s presence on multiple platforms to show international advertisers it has a substantial audience in European, Asian and Middle Eastern markets.

Last summer, the deal with ESPN America, which covered Europe and the Middle East, expired and Bettman decided to negotiate deals individually in each country. He took some heat for the slow start but Collins is expected to tell the governors the NHL will now earn more than double the previous deal, some $30-million, from its overseas broadcast revenue on different platforms.

Whether this number is true or not, who knows but the NHL has already been spinning its new                   international TV deals as huge victories. The fans might feel otherwise but its all rosy in New York. If these dollar figures are correct, don’t expect the NHL to go back to its old way of selling international rights. All that matters to them is dollars and cents, at least when it comes to this issue.


Regional ratings continue to get leaked out. The New York Rangers are the latest and again, it shows some gains. From Sports Media Watch

Through 20 games, Rangers games have averaged a 0.80 rating on MSG Network in the New York market, up 7% from the comparable point last year (0.75).

Tuesday’s game between the Penguins and Rangers earned a 1.60 rating, a season-high.

Those aren’t great numbers, but more importantly, the numbers are up. As long as the Rangers can continue their strong play, the team should see some very high ratings, especially come playoff time.


  • The New York Times is featuring a terrific series on Derek Boogaard. The series will have three parts in total. It’s some of the best hockey writing of the year. Props to the Times for all their hard work on this story. It’s a must read for anyone whether you’re a sports fan or not.
  • Condolences to Detroit Red Wings play by play man Ken Daniels. His father passed away at the age of 96 on Friday. A familiar face to Wings fans filled in on Sunday – Dave Strader. Strader got his NHL start with the Wings before moving to ESPN. Matt Shepard will be on the air Tuesday. Shepard calls college hockey for Fox Sports Detroit along with his main duties as the voice of Michigan Wolverines basketball.
  • For those looking for previews of HBO’s 24/7 and the schedule, you can find them here. The schedule isn’t complete yet but HBO: 24/7 Flyers/Rangers Road to the Winter Classic will premiere every Wednesday, beginning on December 14. Liev Schreiber will narrate the series once again.
  • And speaking of the Winter Classic, Puck The Media has the details on this year’s NBC ad campaign. One of the ads feature Will Arnett and Luc Robitaille, among others singing “The Hockey Song.” It’s a clever campaign and lets hope it gets plenty of airtime during the NFL on NBC.

Posted by on December 6, 2011 in HBO, MSG, NBC, New York Rangers, NHL, Ratings, Television