NBC Sports Network Drops 35% for the Fantasy Draft

A move from Friday to Thursday may have caused a dip in numbers for the second NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft.

The event, the second-annual draft of the All-Star teams, drew 408,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network. This was down 35% from last year’s numbers (624,000 on 1/28/11). Last year’s event took place on a Friday, as opposed to a Thursday this year.

Overall, 2 million people tuned into the draft across North America, with 1.6 million of those coming from Canada on TSN and RDS.

(Source: TVSportsRatings

1.6 Million Canadians Tuned Into the Fantasy Draft

Toronto, ON (January 27, 2012) – While NHL All-Star team captains Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara deliberated over their draft picks last night, hockey fans made TSN and RDS their first picks overall, as overnight data from BBM Canada confirms the MOLSON CANADIAN NHL ALL-STAR PLAYER FANTASY DRAFT hosted by James Duthie delivered an average audience of 1.6 million viewers (TSN: 1.34 million; RDS: 254,000)*.

The 90-minute broadcast on TSN was the #2 program on Canadian television last night for A25-54, A18-49, and A18-34, following THE BIG BANG THEORY on CTV.

TSN’s broadcast of the DRAFT was also watched live on NBC Sports Network in the U.S.

Overall, 3.7 million unique viewers tuned in to watch some or all of the MOLSON CANADIAN NHL ALL-STAR PLAYER FANTASY DRAFT on TSN and RDS. Audience levels peaked at 2.2 million average viewers as Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn was picked second-last in the 19-round DRAFT, making San Jose Sharks’ forward Logan Couture the last man standing on the stage.

The MOLSON CANADIAN NHL ALL-STAR PLAYER FANTASY DRAFT was also a hit on social media, as fans across Canada and around the world joined the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #TSN and #AllStarDraft. At various points throughout the live broadcast both #TSN and #AllStarDraft were trending not only in Canada on Twitter, but worldwide as well. TSN’s James Duthie and Alyonka Larionov, along with the names of numerous NHL All-Star players, were also trending throughout the broadcast.

Fans also chimed in on TSN.ca, where the website’s live blog during the DRAFT had 18,200 participants last night. Along with chatter about the live broadcast, the blog pulled in tweets from TSN’s hockey experts and Insiders.

TSN’s broadcast of the MOLSON CANADIAN NHL ALL-STAR PLAYER FANTASY DRAFT was live from the Théâtre du Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, QC. Host Duthie was joined at the DRAFT by the NHL ON TSN panel featuring Darren Dutchyshen, Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, and analysts Marc Crawford and Aaron Ward. TSN’s Larionov was backstage in the players’ green room to give fans exclusive access inside the event, posting behind-the-scenes photos and player comments to Twitter and TSN’s Fan Page on Facebook. The DRAFT is available now on demand at TSN.ca.

TSN’s coverage of NHL All-Star Weekend continues today with the 2012 NHL ALL-STAR MEDIA DAY PRESENTED BY ALLSTATE INSURANCE from 4-6 p.m. ET, and throughout the weekend with daily reports on SPORTSCENTRE and TSN.ca.

On the Fantasy Draft, the Commish’s Radio Show, and a Few Other Things From Thursday’s All-Star Coverage

I have a few things that I want to discuss, but don’t have enough material to let stand alone, with regards to everything that went on Thursday. So, it seems best to just do it with bullet points, as they’ll never let you down.

  • The All-Star Fantasy Draft remains entertaining, leave it alone. I have a lot of ideas for how the Draft (which, as many have pointed out, is taking place in reality and is in no way a fantasy), including encouraging trades, dropping the pretense of making sure defensemen and goalies are taken by a certain round, a more neutral (i.e. maybe something that looks more like NHL Network than TSN or NBC, so neither network would look awkward simulcasting the other) broadcast, celebrity (in hockey terms) captains, and a number of other things that range from fairly sane (why not add one hockey legend to each team?) to egregiously stupid (why not let the next to last player picked get the car, and let the last two players standing debate on air why they should be picked? I mean, why not?). The fact is, though, that this event is very entertaining, James Duthie is the perfect host for this sort of thing, and the players with human qualities seems to have fun (i.e. everyone but Phil Kessel, whom my 13-year old brother observed, “hates talking). Don’t mess with this at all. It’s one of the best moments on the NHL game schedule.
  • Haven’t we all learned that reading people’s tweets isn’t in any way interesting? I feel for Alyonka Larionov, who had her on-screen time limited to two silly, frivolous segments in which she read various players’ tweets. Having them roll on a bottom line graphic is fine, but reading them on the air just seems pointless to me, as it does whenever any other network broadcasting anything tries to do it. Twitter may be the biggest thing on earth, but it has no place in television.
  • Cheers to NBC for at least throwing on a pre-draft show. The network is putting some effort into All-Star weekend for the first time, and part of that includes an episode of NHL Overtime from Ottawa tonight, and (in what was a surprise to me) a pre-show for the draft in which Liam McHugh, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones broke down the night to come, while Pierre McGuire conducted interviews. It was a nice, easy way to spend the half-hour before the draft.
  • Commissioner Bettman’s radio show should be broadcast on NHL Network. The league’s television arm broadcast a light hour of NHL Live with EJ Hradek, Barry Melrose and Kevin Weekes before handing it over to something that I don’t believe has occurred before – a television simulcast of Commissioner Bettman’s radio show, The NHL Hour. I’ll confess to not having listened to the show in some time, and Bettman remains a bit nervous looking on television (though he’s certainly self-deprecating about it), I’ll admit I really enjoyed the show. The commissioner simply spending time answering questions from children was fun, and having Wayne Gretzky on to finish it up was a nice touch. I hope NHL Network eventually finds a way to get the show on the air on a more permanent basis, because it is a unique program.

NBC Gets Beaten By Replay of AFC Championship Game on Tuesday, is Colorado to Blame?

Look, I’m not in the business of shaming the NHL for it’s ratings. You all know I look on the positive side of things when it comes to who’s watching on NBC Sports Net. But the numbers for NBCSp’s broadcast of the Wild/Avalanche game were downright embarrassing.

The network, televising only it’s fourth game west of Dallas this season, and it’s seventh west of Minnesota, drew just 190,000 viewers for the match-up, marking NBC/VERSUS’ lowest numbers for an exclusive match-up during the 2011-12 season, lowering a limbo stick already set by the Avalanche earlier this year (SJ/COL 12/13/11: 193,000). The game was notably beaten by a replay of the AFC Championship Game between New England and Baltimore on NFL Network (202,000). The league and the network need to find a new tentpole team out west, because the Avs are dead weight when it comes to viewership.

Elsewhere, the numbers were better. Monday night’s Blues/Red Wings game, despite not airing in the Detroit market (where it aired on FSN), drew 429,000 viewers, which may be a season high for a non-exclusive game. The Red Wings getting blown out in Montreal two nights later (where it did air exclusively in Detroit) drew much lower digits, scoring 241,000 viewers. The important thing, however, is that it beat the NFC Championship Game repeat on NFL Network that night (193,000). At least we can hang our hats on that.

(Source: @TVSportsRatings

Viewer Numbers to Date for the NHL on NBC Sports Network, 2011-12 Season

October 6
7:00 
Boston vs. Philadelphia – 874,000
10:00 
Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver – 342,000

October 7
1:00 
NY Rangers vs. Los Angeles – 101,000

October 8
1:00 
NY Rangers vs. Anaheim – 124,000

October 10
7:00 
Tampa Bay vs. Washington – 162,000

October 11
7:30 
Florida vs. Pittsburgh – 216,000

October 12
7:30 
Boston vs. Carolina – 312,000

October 17
7:30 
Colorado vs. Toronto – 218,000

October 18
7:30 
Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota – 286,000

October 25
7:30 
Tampa Bay vs. Buffalo – 338,000

October 31
7:00 
San Jose vs. NY Rangers – 169,000

November 1
7:30 
Anaheim vs. Washington – 258,000

November 2
7:30 
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo – 558,000

November 14
7:00 
Buffalo vs. Montreal – 323,000

November 15
7:30 
Colorado vs. Pittsburgh – 392,000

November 21
7:30 
NY Islanders vs. Pittsburgh – 198,000

November 22
7:30 
Los Angeles vs. St. Louis – 245,000

November 28
7:30 
Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota – 232,000

November 29
7:30 
Pittsburgh vs. NY Rangers – 394,000

November 30
7:30 
Tampa Bay vs. Detroit – 393,000

December 5
8:00 
Phoenix vs. Chicago – 302,000 viewers

December 6
7:30 
Detroit vs. St. Louis – 259,000

December 7
7:30 
Philadelphia vs. Buffalo – 585,000

December 12
7:30 
New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay – 201,000

December 13
9:00 
San Jose vs. Colorado – 193,000

December 14
7:30 
Chicago vs. Minnesota – 540,000

January 2
8:00 
San Jose vs. Vancouver – 267,000

January 3
8:00 
Detroit vs. Dallas – 188,000

January 4
7:30 
Boston vs. New Jersey – 435,000

January 8
7:30 
Detroit vs. Chicago – 587,000 

January 10
7:30 
San Jose vs. Minnesota – 237,000 

January 11
7:30 
Pittsburgh vs. Washington – 526,000

January 15
7:30 
NY Rangers vs. Montreal – 202,000

January 16
7:30 
Dallas vs. St. Louis – 238,000

January 17
7:30 
Nashville vs. NY Rangers – 224,000

January 18
7:30 Buffalo vs. Chicago – 466,000 

January 23
7:30
St. Louis vs. Detroit – 429,000 

January 24
9:00
Minnesota vs. Colorado – 190,000
Janaury 25
7:30
Detroit vs. Montreal – 241,000