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Category Archives: NESN

Regional Ratings Update

Yesterday, I had the depressing news of Sabres TV ratings dropping like a rock. So for today, here’s some positive news.

First up, we have the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have put some strong numbers this year and last Thursday was no exception. From Sharks Play by Play man Randy Hahn

The Columbus vs. Sharks game last night was the highest rated Regular Season Sharks game (2.22) in the history of CSNCA and peaked at 2.88!

Hard to believe that a game against the Jackets would draw big but it did. One caveat is that the game is the highest ever on Comcast SportsNet California. The Sharks have spent more of their time on CSN Bay Area, moving to CSNCA a couple of years ago. Regardless. that’s still a pretty impressive feat for them.

Next up, we have a report on the Winter Classic Alumni ratings on CSN Philadelphia. From the Delaware Co. Daily Times –

A lot of people apparently delayed getting ready for New Year’s Eve because outdoor ice hockey drew a huge audience for Comcast SportsNet the afternoon of Dec. 31.

CSN topped all Philadelphia television stations in audience during its airing of the alumni game that preceded the Jan. 2 Winter Classic. The 6.2 rating of the game also meant high ratings figures for CSN’s pre- and post-game shows with respective counts of 2.3 and 3.7. The pre- and post-games rating show the difference in viewership when those shows sandwich a game. The same shows on Jan. 2, when the Winter Classic was seen locally on Channel 10, scored an 0.9 rating, good but not as noteworthy as the Dec. 31 numbers.

A 6.2 destroys what most teams get for games on a regular basis. Very impressive numbers, continuing to prove the Flyers popularity in Philly.

Finally, here’s a couple of ratings stories out of Boston. a href=’http://www.nesn.com/2011/12/sixteen-of-nesns-top-20-all-time-regular-season-game-ratings-recorded-this-season.html’>First up, there’s a chart showing the Top 20 regular season Bruins broadcasts in NESN history through 2011. 16 of those games are from the past two months. But 2012 is breaking more records for NESN. From NESN –

NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, set another regular season Boston Bruins ratings record on Saturday afternoon with an 8.9 average household rating in the Boston DMA (341,088 total in-home viewers) for the Bruins’ Stanley Cup rematch with the Vancouver Canucks. NESN’s previous best household rating for a regular season Bruins game was set on Nov. 23, 2011 when NESN garnered an 8.4 HH rating for the Bruins’ 4-3 shootout win at Buffalo.
The Vancouver game earned an astounding 23 share in the Boston DMA, also setting a new NESN record for a regular season Bruins game. Share is the percentage of all households with a television in use that are watching a program. This means nearly one in four homes with a TV set on was watching the Bruins game on NESN. The network’s previous record share was a 16 for the Bruins 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 17, 2011.
Just as impressive as NESN’s household rating on Saturday was the game’s ratings among key demographic categories. NESN earned an 8.0 rating (33 share) for adults ages 25-54 and 11.1 rating (40 share) for men ages 25-54.
NESN’s current season Bruins average is now up to a 5.2 household rating, up 86 percent over last season after the same number of games (34).

The Bruins just keep tearing it up. You have to wonder how big the ratings would’ve been for that game in primetime but its a moot point. The game was a lead in for NESN’s Hockey Day in New England and it surely helped boost the two college games that aired afterwards.

 

NHL Hypes Regional Ratings

This is a huge press release from the NHL, detailing various business and broadcasting numbers. I will post the full release after the jump. But first, I’m going to highlight some of the regional ratings that are included since much of the other information mentioned is dated and already known –

First Quarter Filled With TV Ratings Highlights

Eleven local Regional Sports Networks experienced double- and triple-digit growth, including:

• Nashville (+200 percent)
• Carolina (+125 percent)
• Florida (+100 percent)
• Tampa Bay (+71 percent)
• Philadelphia (+60 percent)
• Boston (+57 percent)
• Minnesota (+53 percent)
• San Jose (+44 percent)
• Buffalo (+26 percent)
• Edmonton (+21 percent)
• New York Rangers (+14 percent)

There’s some huge bumps in there, but keep in mind that for many of the Southern teams, ratings couldn’t go much lower. In the case of the Predators, their local ratings are rarely published, so we don’t know where they previously ranked on the totem pole. Clearly, Florida is seeing a boost from their strong start but they have a long ways to go when it comes to being respectable ratings wise. It will be interesting to see if Carolina can continue that momentum since they have been struggling on the ice. A quick update. The Carolina and Nashville ratings include the Atlanta market for the first time. This helps explain their jumps a little bit. Either way, its good to see more people tuning in. Thanks to Dirk Hoag at On the Forecheck for the info.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

A Few Scribbles

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.

 

How Low Can They Go?

I hate to keep picking on Versus and their low ratings but its hard not to. They are an easy target. SportsBusinessJournal’s John Ourand has the latest NHL on Versus numbers

Top NHL game on Versus last week (LA-StL) only drew 245K viewers on Tuesday night.

The good news? It outdrew last Monday’s Pens/Isles bust. The bad news? I think that’s pretty obvious. 245,000 is a pretty small number in the realm of cable television. In Versus’ defense, they are airing more games than ever and many are non-exclusive. And for the first part of this year, the numbers are up, although they were greatly boosted by record ratings for the opening game. Since then, they have fallen into a little bit of a rut with few games standing out.

So who do we blame? How about Versus? Versus and NBC were supposed to promote the game more than ever. Everyone was pretty confident that ratings were going to see a significant jump, especially with the NBA in a lockout. On top of that, Versus added some original programming which gave the NHL some better lead-ins and more promotional opportunities. But Versus is struggling with those programs. TVsportsratings has the ugly details –

Week of 11/14: MLB Net=18k viewers. Fox Soccer=30k. VS=60k. Speed=132k. Golf=288k. NFLN=310k.

So, Versus has a long ways to go when it comes to being competitive in the sports landscape. That’s probably not helping things for the NHL but it’s not fair to blame them completely. Who are the real culprits? Many would point the finger at the Nielsen ratings. Their system isn’t perfect and there’s all kinds of issues with it. Then again, every other network also uses that same flawed system. So, unless someone at Nielsen has a huge hockey bias, then that’s probably not it.

I point the finger at hockey fans. Most hockey fans do not tune into national games. They follow home teams and that’s just about it. No league is affected by that more than the NHL. All the other major leagues can draw people without a rooting interest but the NHL has always struggled with that. True, MLB is starting to see that and it’s showing in their ratings.

Regionally, the NHL is still doing pretty well. I’m betting that most teams will see a nice jump in RSN ratings once they get fully analyzed. Just last week, NESN set a new ratings record for Bruins games. Regional success in nice but it doesn’t help the league’s national profile very much. Until the league can convince fans to watch other teams besides the ones they cheer for, it will continue on as a niche sport, struggling to find its way nationally.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Boston Bruins, NESN, NHL, Ratings, Television, Versus

 

Ratings Watch

Here’s a look at some NHL ratings.

CANADA

These BBM ratings are sourced from the Canadian Sports Media Blog.

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 8, 2011

Sportsnet Ontario Florida/Toronto 783,000 viewers

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 9, 2011

TSN NY Rangers/Ottawa 448,000

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 10, 2011

TSN Toronto/St. Louis 1,170,000

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 12, 2011

CBC Scotiabank Hockey Tonight 1,245,000
CBC 7 PM Regional (OTT/TOR, WPG/CBJ, MTL/NSH) 2,250,000
CBC 10 PM Calgary/Colorado 757,000

UNITED STATES – VERSUS

Unfortunately, the Versus game ratings were unavailable for this past week but judging by the post-game ratings, they probably weren’t all that impressive anyhow. These Nielsen ratings are sourced from The Voice of TV.

MONDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2011

9:30 PM NHL Live 66,000 41,000 A18-49
10:00 PM NHL Overtime 25,000 13,000

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 8, 2011

9:30 PM NHL Live 116,000 51,000
10:30 PM NHL Overtime 59,000 45,000

UNITED STATES – REGIONAL

We have some regional ratings from Boston and Buffalo. First up, from BostInnovation are some Bruins ratings –

Whatever the case, the network has recorded two of its highest regular season game ratings in the past few weeks, and they’ve done it without the studio show host that so many people came to associate with the Bruins over the past few years. A 5.2 household rating was earned for the November 7th matchup with the New York Islanders, and that number was bested by Tuesday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, which did a 5.3 – good for third in the network’s regular-season history all-time.

Despite a slow start for the Bruins, NESN still has a 3.9 household rating on the season, which is a 46% increase over last season through the same number of games, according to Puck the Media.

NESN’S Thursday night broadcast against Columbus brought in big ratings. This comes from NESN PR guy Gary Roy’s twitter account  –

Another season best #Bruins rating on @NESN last night – 6.1 HH the new 3rd best reg season rating in NESN history #NESNTV

In case you are wondering, the 2nd best reg season rating inNESN history was a 6.2 HH on 3/18/10 vs. Pittsburgh #NESNTV

Sabres ratings come from Buffalo Business First

The Buffalo Sabres drew the highest local television ratings in the National Hockey League through the month of October and up 15.2 percent compared to the same month last year.

Sabres games broadcast on rightsholder MSG network averaged an 8.3 rating last month, the highest number in three years for the Buffalo market. That compares to a 7.2 rating in 2010-11 and a 6.7 rating to start the 2009-10 season,

The 8.3 average rating represents approximately 54,000 households in the Buffalo market throughout October and takes into account the two afternoon games the team played while in Europe to start the season. In primetime games on MSG, the Sabres telecasts averaged a 9.3 rating and approximately 60,000 viewing households. The team’s home opener against Carolina on Oct. 14 drew the largest audience, with an 11.5 rating and approximately 74,000 households.

 

Canucks Re-Up With Team 1040, HE Extends Deal With NESN

A couple quick media notes. Bell Media’s Team 1040 has signed an extension with the Vancouver Canucks. The extension lasts until 2016-17 and helps solidify Bell’s strength of covering the NHL on the radio in Canada. Bell also holds rights in Ottawa, Montreal and Winnipeg. While 1040 hasn’t been re-branded as TSN Radio yet, there’s a good bet that this will happen down the road, especially with this renewal in place.

Over in college hockey, one of the longest broadcasting partnerships will continue for four more seasons. Hockey East and NESN have come to an agreement which will see the net air at least 16 games per year. The deal also adds “flex” scheduling, giving NESN the right to pick the most attractive games during the last few weeks of the season. Additionally, the women’s hockey championship will get TV time. All ten HE teams will have at least one game aired on NESN.

 

Some Regional Notes

Here’s a few regional television notes. I had tweeted some of these earlier but they deserve their own post:

  • MSG announced its new host of New York Islanders telecasts a few days ago. Peter Ruttgaizer is getting the job as Deb Placey’s successor. Ruttgaizer had been with Altitude as an Avalanche studio host and reporter the last three seasons.
  • While Rob Carlin would’ve made an obvious choice to replace Placey as he had already done some work during Isles telecasts, he’s off to Washington to replace Russ Thaler as host of the Capitals telecasts on CSN Mid-Atantic.
  • I had already mentioned that Dale Arnold has returned to NESN as Bruins host but NESN announced their complete 2011-12 Bruins coverage plans this morning. One of my favorite regional shows, The Instigators will return on October 27. I’m curious to see if Mike Milbury makes any cameos on the program as he was its star while he was with NESN. The network is also bringing back its weekly Bruins show Big Bad Bruins and it will air episodes of NHL Network’s Lord Stanley’s Summer throughout October.