VERSUS/TSN Local Nets Tout Big Ratings Gains

VERSUS EARNS best NHL postseason start on cable since 2002
VERSUS’ first five nights of Conference Quarterfinal round coverage averaged a .6 HH rating and 543,000 viewers making it the highest-rated and most-watched start to the postseason on cable since 2002.  The HH rating and average viewership is up 50 percent and 21 percent, respectively, as compared to VERSUS’ first five nights of last year’s postseason (.4 HH rating and 447,000 viewers).  Additionally, the start of the 2010 Playoffs is the most-watched among all key male demos on cable since 2002 with each of the demos showing viewership increases over last year: Men 18-34 (up 6%), Men 18-49 (up 8%) and Men 25-54 (up 18%).

This overall success is highlighted by Game 2 of the Montreal/Washington series on Saturday, April 17, which garnered a .9 HH rating and averaged 731,000 viewers making it VERSUS’ highest-rated and most-watched first round game in network history.  The game surpassed the previous rating high set by the Pittsburgh/Ottawa series Game 2 the day before (.8 HH rating) and the viewership record set by the Philadelphia/Washington Game 7 on April 22, 2008 (682,000 viewers).

NHL ON NBC EVEN WITH LAST SEASON THROUGH TWO BROADCASTS
Through its first two playoff broadcasts, the overnight rating average of 1.4 on NBC is even with last year. National ratings and viewership will be available on Thursday.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ON TSN AND CBC POSTING “BOFFO NUMBERS”
TSN and CBC are posting “boffo numbers in these playoffs – without Toronto in the hunt,” according to the The Globe & Mail.  The Stanley Cup Playoffs on TSN have averaged 992,000 viewers for nine telecasts through April 18, a 112 percent increase over last year to date (467,000 viewers).  Meanwhile, CBC is averaging 1,268,000 viewers for its 10 broadcasts through games of April 18, a 33 percent increase over last season (951,000 viewers).

NHL ON RDS UP 12%
RDS is averaging 451,000 viewers for its 12 telecasts through April 19, up 12 percent over last year (414,000 viewers).

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REGIONAL SPORTS NETWORKS
· Game 1 of the Chicago-Nashville series on CSN Chicago earned a 5.9 overnight rating, up 24 percent over last year (4.5).
· Game 1 of the New Jersey-Philadelphia series on earned a 1.4 overnight rating on MSG Plus, a 100 percent increase over last year (0.7).
· Game 1 of the Phoenix-Detroit series earned a 4.1 overnight rating on KTVK, up 116 percent from the last time Phoenix made the playoffs in 2002 (1.9).
· Game 2 of the Phoenix-Detroit series generated a 4.7 rating/8 share on FOX Sports Arizona. That rating is second best all-time for the Coyotes on the network and highest since May 4, 1999. The 4.7 rating means that an average of 84,722 Phoenix households watched the game.
· Game 1 of the Washington-Montreal series on CSN DC earned a 5.1 overnight rating, a 55 percent increase over last year (3.3).
· Game 1 of the Buffalo-Boston series on MSG Network, earned a 12.2 overnight rating, a 53 percent over last year (8.0)
· Game 1 of the San Jose-Colorado series on CSN California earned a 4.4 overnight rating up 19 percent over last year (3.7).
· Game 2 of the Phoenix-Detroit series earned a 10.1 overnight rating on Fox Sports Detroit, up 5 percent over last year (9.7).
· Game 2 of the Washington-Montreal series on CSN DC earned a 4.4 overnight rating, a 132 percent increase over last year (1.9).
· Game 2 of the Chicago-Nashville series on CSN Chicago earned a 5.9 overnight rating, up 48 percent over last year (4.0).
· Game 3 of the Pittsburgh-Ottawa series earned a whopping 21.6 overnight rating, a 20 percent gain over last year (18.0).

DIGITAL STRATEGY PAYS DIVIDENDS
The NHL is engaging and connecting with more fans than ever on its digital platforms and the first week of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs has continued that trend. Some highlights from the first week include:

· Video starts on NHL.com increased by 140 percent over the first six days of the postseason in 2009
· Unique Visitors to NHL.com are up 23 percent over last year (14 percent in the U.S. and 18 percent in Canada)
· Page Views on NHL.com are up 42 percent
· Mobile page views are up 185 percent
· Shop.NHL.com orders are up 37 percent with gross sales increasing by 43 percent compared to last year
· Game Center Live Race for the Cup packages are up 24 percent first five days of the postseason in 2009
· NHL Mobile page views increased by 185 percent over the first six days of the postseason in 2009

The top NHL markets based on growth of unique visitors to NHL.com through the first week of the Playoffs:
· Phoenix (+121 percent)
· Buffalo (+100 percent)
· Nashville (+ 85 percent
· Denver (+74 percent)
· Boston (+63 percent)
· Chicago (+42 percent)
· *Dallas-Ft. Worth (+41 percent)
· Ottawa (+41 percent)
· Montreal (+34 percent)
· Los Angeles (+34 percent)
· Philadelphia (+22 percent)
· Washington D.C. (+21 percent)
· Vancouver (+17 percent)
· Tampa-St. Pete (+13 percent)
· Pittsburgh (+11 percent)
· *Toronto (+10 percent)
· *Atlanta (+6 percent)
· *Edmonton (+6 percent)

Note: *Team did not make the postseason

U.S. fans in non-NHL markets are also engaging in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as never before. The following markets have all seen year-to-year double digit increases in unique visitors to NHL.com:
· Kansas City (+85 percent)
· Baltimore (+54 percent)
· Seattle (+37 percent)
· Rochester, N.Y. (+34 percent)
· Richmond (+32 percent)
· Portland, Ore. (+28 percent)
· Milwaukee (+28 percent)
· Salt Lake City (+27%)
· Norfolk (+21%)
· Cleveland (+19%)

FULL HOUSES
All 23 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs games played through Monday night were sold out. In fact, eight teams managed to squeeze in more fans than their buildings’ respective published seating capacities. Averaging 18,720 fans per game, these NHL Playoffs so far are playing to 101.9 percent capacity.

INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT INCREASES
The start of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs drove a record number of downloads of NHL Ice Time 2010, the League’s official app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that is distributed outside of North America.  As of Sunday, it remains among the top five sports apps sold on iTunes in 17 countries outside of North America.  As further evidence of fan interest in the NHL outside North America, for the first six days of the Playoffs unique visitors to NHL.com from Russia have increased by 82 percent, Slovakia by 116 percent and from Finland by 39 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NHL’S RECORD-BREAKING BUSINESS SUCCESS IN 2009-10
· Corporate sponsorship was up 20 percent
· New League partners this season include Geico, Starwood Hotels, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, LG Electronics and Hershey’s Canada
· Ad spending on NHL® media increased by 37 percent over last season
· Revenue from big event platforms, led by the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, are up 22 percent over last season
· Unique visitors to NHL.com surpassed last year’s record by 32 percent
· NHL.com attracted a single-day record 1.6 million unique visitors on Sunday, April 11 – besting last season’s regular season final day by 54 percent
· NHL Game Center Live™ subscriptions were up 25 percent
· Sales at SHOP.NHL.com were up 12 percent from last year’s record
· Viewership for NBC’s Game of the Week telecasts were up 13 percent
· Ratings for exclusive telecasts on Versus were up 20 percent
· NHL Mobile™ reached 1.6 million page views, an increase of 233 percent over last season

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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

One Response to VERSUS/TSN Local Nets Tout Big Ratings Gains

  1. Josh says:

    One thing not mentioned about the Canaidan numbers in the press release is that this is the first postseason where the ratings have been measured using Portable People Meters, rather than diaries. Ratings for *everything* on Canadian television have been up about 20% since the introduction of these things. So, TSN’s number is amazing regardless of that, but CBC is just showing a fairly modest increase when the PPMs are accounted for.

    I could be wrong, but I believe the French markets were already measured using PPMs prior to this year, so RDS’ 12% is legit.

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