Hockey Only Beating Hoops on TV in Three Markets

We’re not going to make an enthusiasm gap joke here.  Basketball’s always doing better than hockey on TV, and that’s not what that subject was debated on.  The point here as that it takes a basketball team really blowing chunks to find a hockey team that can beat it in the ratings.

What follows after the jump is a slightly more detailed look at the NBA vs. NHL battle in markets where both teams compete.  We’ll feature the teams in the market’s current average attendance as well.  Enjoy.

Atlanta
NBA:
Hawks
NHL: Thrashers

Attendance
Hawks: 16,398 (87.6%)
Thrashers:
14,361 (77.4%)

TV Ratings
Hawks: 1.4
Thrashers:
0.2

Boston
NBA:
Celtics
NHL: Bruins

Attendance
Celtics: 18,624 (100%)
Bruins:
16,731 (89.8%)

TV Ratings
Celtics: 3.7
Bruins:
2.2

Chicago
NBA:
Bulls
NHL: Blackhawks

Attendance
Bulls:
21,003 (96.7%)
Blackhawks: 22,495 (114.7%)

TV Ratings
Bulls: 2.3
Blackhawks:
1.1

Dallas
NBA:
Mavericks
NHL: Stars

Attendance
Mavericks:
20,020 (104.3%)
Stars: 17,645 (95.2%) 

TV Ratings
Mavericks: 1.2
Stars:
0.5

Denver
NBA: Nuggets
NHL: Avalanche

Attendance
Nuggets: 16,820 (87.8%)
Avalanche:
15,797 (87.7%)

TV Ratings
Nuggets:
1.8
Avalanche: 1.7 

Detroit
NBA:
Pistons
NHL: Red Wings

Attendance
Pistons: 22,076 (100%)
Red Wings:
19,724 (98.3%) 

TV Ratings
Pistons: 3.9
Red Wings:
3.7

South Florida
NBA:
Heat
NHL: Panthers

Attendance
Heat: 17,754 (90.6%)
Panthers:
14,967 (77.8%)

TV Ratings
Heat: 2.2
Panthers:
0.2

Los Angeles
NBA:
Lakers and Clippers
NHL: Kings

Attendance
Lakers: 18,997 (99.7%)
Clippers: 15,443 (81.0%)
Kings:
15,965 (86.3%) 

TV Ratings
Lakers:
4.2
Clippers: 0.6
Kings: 0.4

Minnesota
NBA:
Timberwolves
NHL: Wild

Attendance
Timberwolves:
13,730 (70.9%)
Wild: 18,568 (102.8%)

TV Ratings
Timberwolves:
1.1
Wild: 2.2 

New Jersey
NBA:
Nets
NHL: Devils

Attendance
Nets: 15,152 (75.8%)
Devils: 15,313 (86.9%)

TV Ratings
Nets: 0.6
Devils:
0.4

New York
NBA:
Knicks
NHL: Rangers

Attendance
Knicks: 19,132
(96.8%)
Rangers: 18,200 (100%)

TV Ratings
Knicks: 1.2
Rangers:
1.0

Philadelphia
NBA:
76ers
NHL: Flyers

Attendance
76ers:
14,536 (71.5%)
Flyers: 19,428 (99.6%)

TV Ratings
76ers:
1.5
Flyers: 2.2

Phoenix

NBA: Suns
NHL: Coyotes

Attendance
Suns: 18,422 (100%)
Coyotes:
14,801 (84.6%)

TV Ratings
Suns: 3.4
Coyotes:
0.5

Bay Area
NBA:
Warriors
NHL: Sharks

Attendance
Warriors: 18,855
(96,2%) 
Sharks:
17,483 (99.9%) 

TV Ratings
Warriors: 1.5
Sharks:
1.3

Washington
NBA:
Wizards
NHL: Capitals

Attendance
Wizards:
16,854 (83.5%)
Capitals: 17,973 (96.3%)

TV Ratings
Wizards:
1.1
Capitals: 1.2 

All attendance numbers are from ESPN.  All ratings numbers are from Sports Business Journal via Sports Media Watch.

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

17 Responses to Hockey Only Beating Hoops on TV in Three Markets

  1. kevin says:

    Actually alot of the TV ratings are really close except for the sunbelt teams which is inevitable. The Rangers are equal to the Knicks which is surprising…..and the Kings aren’t any worse than the Clippers. Obviously the Lakers are in another world…I think hockey is disadvantaged in alot of these big cites when you figure the large black population aren’t watching it. I think that’s a pretty good assumption.

  2. dyhrdmet says:

    i’m guessing by their lack in inclusion on this list that the Islanders aren’t drawing enough people in the arena and on TV to be included…

  3. Shoogah says:

    I believe the Islanders not making this list is more a result of location rather than attendance. There is no pro basketball on LI, therefore there is no fair comparison.

  4. CS says:

    Attendance
    Knicks: 19,132 (96.8%)
    Rangers: 18,200 (100%)

    Can someone explain to me how 18,200 is 100% capacity for the Rangers, while 19,132 is 96.8% capacity for the Knicks when they play in the same building? (You can see this trend with other teams that share playing spaces, too.)

    Is it because a hockey rink takes up more space and thereby there are less seats available? Or does this have to do with each league’s definition of “capacity?”

  5. stevelepore says:

    Yes it is, sir. Basketball can usually fit in as many as 1,000 more seats do to courtside, extra room behind nets, etc.

  6. Ari says:

    Toronto?

  7. Truth Serum says:

    Do these numbers reflect the fact that the NBA is televised on ESPN and sometimes goes up against a smaller FSN or Comcast broadcast? Also, I know that the Chicago Bulls have paid attendance to reflect their numbers, but they are really not drawing as well as shown.

  8. dyhrdmet says:

    what i find real interesting is that there’s a number of NHL teams that have very low ratings but pretty decent attendance numbers (almost like there’s more people in person than watching on TV).

    ratings figures for teams like the Devils, Islanders, Nets, and probably even the Ducks are skewed lower because those teams’ footprints isn’t really the entire TV market. The Devils “TV” market includes all of Islanders territory on LI (which has lots of Rangers fans in it), the 5 boroughs of NYC plus other counties in NY & CT (which are almost 100% Rangers), and Devils territory in NJ (which has lots of Rangers fans in it) – a lot of real estate that normally wouldn’t be watching a Devils game.

  9. Brad says:

    TV Ratings
    Timberwolves: 1.1
    Wild: 2.2

    I’m very happy with these ratings. Hockey is Minnesota’s sport. I’m very happy to see the Wild doubling up on the Wolves.

  10. Jeff says:

    I know Detroit has a large black population but I dont by the Pistons doing better then the Wings even though their numbers for tv ratings are pretty much even I know at times the Wings have been put on FSN+ as well as the Pistons most people cant find FSN+ or will not bother and last I checked I think the Pistons still have games on regular tv while all Wings games are on cable. The NBA has games on ESPN and TNT while the NHL is on Versus I know people that dont even get Versus on their cable packages. I know that there is no harder hit area with the bad economy then the Detroit area but as far as attendence whenever I see highlights on ESPN half of the Palace is empty especially the upper deck if the Pistons are selling out games they sure are fudging their figures. One other note I know the Wings have about 4,000 more season ticket holders then the Pistons do.

  11. Brian says:

    If you go by % of capacity and not by total attendance numbers the NHL is better off than the headline leads you to belive. Basketball will always have the advantage in total attendance, since they have a larger seating capacity than hockey.

    The NHL beats the NBA in 7.5 cities going by capacity. The .5 coming in LA where the Kings are higher than the Clippers but lower than the Lakers. Also Colorado isn’t that far off, .1% difference.

    Also the biggest differences seem to be in non-traditional hockey markets where the teams haven’t faired to well in recent years. (ATL, FLA, Phoenix).

    All in all, I think that the NHL has nothing to worry about, they are putting up pretty solid attendance numbers this year, in most cities.

  12. Jonah says:

    Does this factor in the seating removed for Hockey games that Basketball games have courtside?

  13. Matt says:

    I don’t see how black population has anything to do with this. Washington D.C. is more than 75% black, yet the Caps are drawing better ratings and attendance then the Wizards.

    D.C. is a perfect definition of a bandwagon town. In November of 2007, when the Caps were at the bottom of the NHL, they were lucky to draw 13,000 for a weeknight game and the only time they would sell out is when they would face a team that travels well and has a lot of former residents living in the D.C. area (Philly, NY, Boston, Pittsburgh). Now, only a year and change later, they are selling out virtually every game and opposing teams can’t nearly bring as many fans.

    The Wizards are just the opposite. Last year and in the 2006-2007 season, they were a top 5 Eastern Conference team and the place would sell out every weekend game and get close on weeknights. Now that they are the worst team in the NBA, they never sell out and there is no way that they are even getting 16,800 to every game. Like someone said before about the Bulls, there are a lot of empty seats if you watch the game on TV and the listed attendance doesn’t reflect the actual attendance.

  14. Leafs&Raps says:

    The raptors are not close to the leafs in tv ratings at all. But both teams do sell out every game, the only market that does.

  15. sittingpugs says:

    TV viewership numbers consist solely of residential participation? How do hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants, Best Buys, and maybe even airports figure in?

    The waiting rooms of dentists? Family doctors?

  16. Mike says:

    No question the NBA is overrated. In fact the massive leap from the foul line which whilst not especially skillful was at least “athletic” in a Carl Lewis kind of way was cool, however… Now we are expected to think a guy jumps 6″ off the ground and stuffs a ball into a stationery hoop from point blank range is “cool” just because he does it “aggressively” or as they like to say “in your face”…

    Basketball has really outlived it’s usefulness. The greatness of Jordon, Bird and Magic helped us overlook that cold hard facts… the game just has no substance. Kids are taught to respect disrespect and that “mediocrity” is cool… “it didn’t go in but it was a hell of a move…”

    Baseball, Football and to a lesser degree Hockey and Soccer are far better sports to watch and for our kids to aspire to play.

  17. Pingback: Flyers attendance/ratings dwarf Sixers - Philadelphia - Pennsylvania (PA) - City-Data Forum

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