Conference Finals Down on NBC

The 2011 Conference Final round continued to trend down for The NHL On NBC, with both broadcasts this weekend posting losses.

On Saturday, the network aired Game 4 of the Boston/Tampa Bay series and scored a 1.5 overnight, down 6% from the similar broadcast last year (MTL/PHI, 5/22/10: 1.6). There was no comparable broadcast two years ago. This nearly doubled the series’ 0.8 average rating on VERSUS.

Sunday’s NBC broadcast of Game 4 between Vancouver and San Jose drew a not-necessarily-disasterous-all-things-considered 1.3 overnight, though it was down 35% from last year’s comparable broadcast (SJ/CHI, 5/23/10: 2.0). It was also down 14% from the broadcast two years ago (DET/CHI, 5/24/09: 1.5).

The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs on NBC averaged a 1.4 overnight rating for eight broadcasts. This is down 7% from 2010’s average for nine broadcasts, but 8% better than 2009’s average for eight broadcasts. The NHL will return to NBC for Games 1 & 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

NHL On NBC Overnights This Season
January 1 – Washington vs. Pittsburgh: 
January 23 – Philadelphia vs. Chicago:
February 6 – Pittsburgh vs. Washington: 
February 13 – Boston vs. Detroit: 
February 20 – Regional Coverage*: 
February 20 – Pittsburgh vs. Chicago*: 
March 6 – Philadelphia vs. NY Rangers: 0.9
March 13 – Chicago vs. Washington: 0.9
March 20 – NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh: 0.7
April 3 – NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia: 1.0
April 10 – Detroit vs. Chicago: 1.1
Season Average: 1.1

2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 16 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 2: 1.1 
Apr. 17 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 3: 
Apr. 23 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 5: 1.3
Apr. 24 – Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, Game 6: 1.6
Apr. 30 – Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 1: 1.5
May 1 – Detroit vs. San Jose, Game 2: 1.6
May 21 – Boston vs. Tampa Bay, Game 4: 1.5
May 22 – Vancouver vs. San Jose, Game 4: 1.3
Average To Date: 1.4

NHL on NBC Overnights for 2009-10 Season

Jan. 1, Philadelphia vs. Boston*: 2.6
Jan. 17, Chicago vs. Detroit: 
Jan. 24, Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia: 
Jan. 31, Detroit vs. Pittsburgh: 
Feb. 7, Pittsburgh vs. Washington: 
Mar. 7, Detroit vs. Chicago: 
Mar. 14, Washington vs. Chicago: 
Mar. 21, NY Rangers vs. Boston: 0.7
Apr. 4, Detroit vs. Philadelphia: 1.0
Apr. 11, Boston vs. Washington: 0.9
Season Average: 1.2

2010 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 17 – Boston vs. Buffalo, Game 2: 1.2
Apr. 18 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 3: 1.5
Apr. 24 – Nashville vs. Chicago, Game 5: 1.3
Apr. 25 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 6: 1.3
May 1 – Philadelphia vs. Boston, Game 1: 1.6
May 2 – Montreal vs. Pittsburgh, Game 2: 1.6
May 16 – Chicago vs. San Jose, Game 1: 1.7
May 22 – Philadelphia vs. Montreal, Game 4: 1.6
May 23 – San Jose vs. Chicago, Game 4: 2.0
Playoff Average: 1.5

2009 Stanley Cup Playoff Overnights

Apr. 18 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 2: 1.0
Apr. 19 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 3: 1.7
Apr. 25 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 6: 1.2
Apr. 26 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 6: 1.0
May 2 – Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 1: 1.4
May 3 – Anaheim vs. Detroit, Game 2: 1.3
May 17 – Chicago vs. Detroit, Game 1: 2.0
May 24 – Detroit vs. Chicago, Game 4: 1.5
Playoff Average: 1.3


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27 Responses to Conference Finals Down on NBC

  1. kevin says:

    Bos/TB 1.5 vs 1.6 what’s the difference

    SJ/Van 1.3 is actually pretty good considering…… Vancouver is going to kill the Final ratings. Hopefully, a 4 game sweep and get it over with quickly

    • Kevin says:

      Why would you want a 4 game sweep? The ratings in Canada will be crazy high.. If it’s Boston vs. Vancouver then that’s fine.. It won’t be as high as last year but the ratings will still be good especially if it’s a long (6 or 7 game) series.. Actually Bruins/Canucks is a million times better for the NHL then Bruins/Sharks (even though I want the Sharks to win the series)..

  2. Mike in Idaho says:

    Detroit’s going out is really hurting the ratings. If TB triumphs over Boston, we will be looking at ANA/OTT levels for the Stanley Cup.

    • Sean says:

      If it goes 6 or 7 games, it won’t be that bad. Lord, nothing could be THAT bad. At least Tampa & Vancouver have some recognizable names.

      But it won’t be good. If Gary Bettman was David Stern….there would be no way the Bruins lose this series.

  3. Chris S says:

    Why can’t Americans just watch a good hockey team like Vancouver? Their best player (arguably) is American in Ryan Kesler.

    • Sean says:

      They will. They need a compelling opponent and a compelling game. No one cares about the Sharks and yesterday game was over halfway through the 2nd period.

      Boston/Vancouver will do fine.

      On Saturday’s ratings, I wonder how many causal fans tuned out when it got to 3-0 Boston. I thought the game was over and decided to do some errands. Oops.

    • Arthur says:

      That is just a dumb question Chris.
      Hockey fans in the States are particularly attached to their local teams’ broadcasts. You see it in the equally idiotic postings on other hockey sites (“Emrick sux, give me Jack Edwards!”)
      When their hometown teams bow out of the playoffs they lose interest. It is as simple as that. It would be awesome if DET or another huge hockey rating city like BOS were in the Cup Final. But it doesn’t look like that will happen this year. And remember, a Canadian team does not move the Nielsen meter for NBC/Versus so of course the number will be down.

      • Chris S says:

        No it’s not a dumb question Arthur. I know the way we watch sports in Canada is a little different than you guys do, but CBC gets good ratings for all-American Stanley Cup Finals year in and year out, but down South, if it’s only one US team, all of a sudden the ratings are down. I understand why, but a skilled team like the Canucks should bring in casual sports fans, Canadian team or not.

        I’m not knocking the US Sports fans, I just don’t understand why they only feel the need to watch American-based teams.

    • Mike says:

      It has nothing to do with Americans not watching a Canadian team, most American hockey fans only watch the team they root for-and no other teams. There aren’t a lot of casual sports fans that will watch hockey here either, which is why when you remove a US team from the matchup, there is no local market to prop up the ratings.

  4. Eddie says:

    To say san jose would not help? Is crazy. If san jose were make it to the finals. That would be a great story line bruins vs sharks. Thornton vs his ex team. I’m sure it could get a very good household rating. During the red wings series it peaked at 300 000 hh. For the finals it probably be hire than that.

  5. kevin says:

    Sharks would be better than Vancouver…People in San Fran might actually watch….it is one of the top markets in the US. Vancouver is just bad news but at least Canadians will stop crying and they might get decent ratings in Canada

    • Chris S says:

      What exactly do you mean by “Canadians will stop crying”?

    • Kevin says:

      Yes Sharks/Bruins ratings would be higher in the U.S but overall Bruins/Canucks is a lot better for the NHL.. But I’m not sure why I’m replying to you since it seems like you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.. The comment “they might get decent ratings in Canada” shows how little you know (I’m not Canadian)

    • KevinS says:

      I think at this point it is negligible who makes it in the West. San Jose is unprompted during the regular season on NBC/Vs, so few casual fans are going to care. Vancouver is in Canada so that is bad for NBC/Vs.

  6. Jack says:

    On a different note, maybe people will stop complaining about NBC/Vs showing the same 7-8? Fact is, those are the marquee teams in the league and if/when they go deep into the playoffs it benefits NBC. Unless San Jose is playing Detroit or Chicago they do nothing ratings wise.

    It would help if the Avalanche, Blues, and Stars started making the playoffs again. They were very prominent franchises until the lockout and also are located in important markets.

    A seven game Bruins/Nucks series wouldn’t so bad; NBC could play up the USA vs Canada thing.

    • Kevin says:

      I agree with most of this.. And it’s not only the NHL that does that, most sports do that (Excluding NFL but they set up favorable matchups)..

      It would be great if the Blues made the playoffs, their ratings went up 40-something% this year to an average rating somewhere near 3 (Top 5 in the NHL) and they didn’t even make the playoffs..

      Overall Bruins/Canucks wouldn’t be as bad as people make it sound. Canucks/Bolts would be bad but we’ll see what happens.

    • KevinS says:

      But, this is the fault of NBC/Vs. ABC/ESPN promote the hot teams no matter where they are. If the NHL and NBC/Vs were to promote the other teams and stars in the league then maybe more people would want to watch those teams. One great example: Steven Stamkos. He is one of the top ten players in the league, but only those in the Tampa Bay area and hardcore NHL fans know about him. By your stat the NHL should rig the playoffs so that Detroit plays Chicago in the West Final and the other five marquee teams in the East should make the playoffs and the other 23 teams should play for a lesser trophy that NBC/Vs isn’t going to give a darn about. Either do that suggestion or actually promote the players and teams in the league. If Tampa Bay was on NBC once or twice and were promoted heavily on NBC/Vs then they get more recognition and more casual fans know about that team. If St. Louis, Colorado and Dallas were one two and three in the West NBC wouldn’t give them two seconds because the Rangers and the Flyers have only been on twice, got to put them on again because we have no faith in the other American teams. The casual fans and the average person are idiots, if NBC promoted over and over again I bet the casual fans would watch. It is the sports version of the “placebo affect.” Sorry for the soapbox routine. I just feel that needed to be said about NBC issues with the NHL.

  7. Jack says:

    Of course it’s not only the NHL who does this; you’re right Kevin. Aside from the NFL, the “big four” rely on big markets. You don’t think ABC/ESPN were happy when the Lakers got eliminated do you? I can’t imagine FOX was too pleased when the Phillies & Yankees were eliminated in the LCS series either.

    St. Louis is a strong hockey market and Dallas & Denver have shown they can be when they ice a competitive team. Since these three franchises are somewhat mediocre right now it only leaves NBC/Vs with Chicago and Detroit. Wouldn’t hurt if the Kings made a deep playoff run since it appears the Lakers could be headed towards a decline.

  8. Jeremy says:

    I think it’s interesting that NBC got better ratings for the Montreal-Philly series than it did for the Tampa-Boston series. In both cases, there was one “traditional” U.S. team involved, but the Canadian opposition outdrew the southern U.S. team.

    • Kevin says:

      You have to realize the Canadiens have A LOT of fans and a lot of them live in the U.S.. Every away game, they have a lot of fans at the games. Yes some fans travel with the team but it’s also because they have fans everywhere.. Kind of like the Cowboys, Packers and Yankees.

      • marv935 says:

        I wanted to add that the casual American hockey viewer is being sold on watching the big stars as was the case when Gretzky and Lemieux were still playing. The last few years had NBC and NHL promoting Crosby and Ovechkin to the expense of anyone else. The bad payoff this year was that casual viewers saw nothing of Crosby and only a few games of Ovechkin and having Washington and Pittsburgh both lose early and not having the casual viewer know who the other players are did not help ratings.

      • Jeremy says:

        So . . . why aren’t the Canadiens on NBC more often?

    • KevinS says:

      Marv, you are completely right. NBC can only look at themselves when they see the bad ratings. There are so many stars and teams to promote in the league and they only care about a handful of players and seven teams. If they were to care enough to promote more stars and more teams and jam promotions into the casual fans then there ratings might be better. I wonder what a Tampa Bay versus either SJ or Vancouver would look like ratings wise.

  9. Eddie says:

    Hey, I think we all agree they key to these finals being decent or key is that boston has to be in them. It will be intriguing to see if vancouver maintain good ratings. I think that would show how much the game has grown.

  10. marv935 says:

    On a different note, I have to note that having Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire in the intermission studio is a lot less lively than the pairing of Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick with Versus. Why NBC does not put Jones and Roenick and their contrasting opinions on is puzzling. Jones/Roenick a lot better than the boring duo if Milbury and McGuire. These two guys will make the casual viewer switch channels quickly.

  11. kevin says:

    Canadians have been whining for 20 years because a Canadian team hasn’t won a Cup. Then they complain that Bettman rigs it so American teams make it to the Final even though we have seen Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton in the last decade who were bad teams but somehow managed to outwit Bettman’s devious tactics. The ratings for an all American Final are good in Canada but not what you would thing they should be….with Vancouver they will be very good because all Canadians will be thinking that they are finally sticking it to Bettman with a Canadian team winning…even though the best Canucks are a bunch of Swedes and Americans mostly…go figure

  12. Eddie says:

    They san jose/vancouver will be lucky to draw a mill for the west final. Whoever is saying vancouver is a better draw is drunk. Vancouver will get great ratings in canada. That is not the point. It is about growing the game. Having a san jose/boston would do more long term. Canada is already established were a hockey crazed nation the nhl knows what they can and will get from canada. I’m a hockey fan doesn’t matter to me who plays but, if were talking long term for business. You want american teams for american advertisement dollars.

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