College Hockey Starts Slow on NBC

Despite a production outfit that is top notch and NHL caliber announcers, college hockey has begun as a bit of a tough sell on NBC Sports Network.

The game between Dartmouth and RPI on Friday, January 6th on NBCSN drew just 38,000 viewers. There are no numbers available from the New Year’s Eve battle between Boston University and Notre Dame, so these are the first figures we’re able to look at. The game still nearly tripled it’s lead-in (a new episode of Darren Rovell’s CNBC Sports Biz: Game On – 13,000) and considering the somewhat dubious timeslot and competition from other college hockey games going on at the time, there’s some positives to be taken from all this.

Sunday Night Hockey Debuts with Good Numbers for Red Wings/Blackhawks

The Original Six rivalry between Chicago and Detroit came up big in the numbers for the NBC Sports Group twice in six days, successfully launching their fourth night of hockey.

The Red Wings and Blackhawks first of two overtime games in six days drew 587,000 viewers on NBCSN Sunday, January 8th. This makes it the second most-watched game of the season on the network. This gives NBCSN two games topping 500,000 viewers in four days (PIT/WSH, 1/11/12: 527,000). The game between Detroit and Chicago on NBC six days later also drew solid ratings. NBC’s second Sunday night broadcast drew a near season low (NYR/MTL, 1/15/11: 202,000) but that can be attributed to football.

Top 5 VERSUS/NBCSN Games This Season
1. 
Boston/Philadelphia, 10/6/11 – 874,000 viewers
2.
Detroit/Chicago, 1/8/11 – 587,000 viewers
3. 
Philadelphia/Buffalo, 12/7/11 – 585,000 viewers
4. 
Philadelphia/Buffalo, 11/2/11 – 558,000 viewers
5. 
Chicago/Minnesota, 12/14/11 – 540,000 viewers

(Source: The Voice of TV