Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Detroit, St. Louis Lead Hockey Day Local Ratings

It’s easy to see why Hockey Day in America was a ratings success for NBC, given the solid local performance from many of the NHL’s larger markets, though both markets for the late game waned a bit.

The NHL used some of it’s more reliable players in the 12:30 window, and that turned out to be a big success, led – as NHL local ratings often are – by Buffalo, where the Sabres/Pens game drew an 11.1 local rating. The Penguins were no slouches themselves, as the game notched a more-than-solid 9.0 in Pittsburgh.

The Red Wings drew the second-highest numbers for a local market in the entire event, as their tilt against the Sharks scored a 9.5 in the Detroit market. To my knowledge, only the 2009 Winter Classic has drawn a better regular season local rating on NBC in the Motor City. In the Bay Area (San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland), where the game began at 9:30 a.m. PT, it was far from dead. 1.5 percent of the folks out in the bay tuned in. To put it in perspective, the Sharks recently set a record for regular season ratings on CSN California, drawing a 2.2 for game in January.

The biggest surprise for some people may come out of St. Louis, where Blues/Blackhawks – a game that started at 11:30 a.m. local time in both markets – drew a whopping 7.0 rating in St. Louis. Again, for perspective, the Blues record local number for a regular season game on FS Midwest is a 5.6, while the team’s season high is a 5.5. That said, it’s well known that the Blues used to draw blockbuster numbers regularly in the Gateway City during the FOX era. If the Blues don’t get at least one or two Game of the Week appearances next season, NBC is making a foolish mistake. Meanwhile, in the host city of Chicago, the game drew a 3.9. NBC’s drawn higher in the Windy City before, but for the #3 market, not bad.

Compared to the smashing numbers in many markets for the early games, the late game could seem a bit of a lag. The game drew a 4.6 rating in Boston. This is down from the Bruins’ last appearance on the network, as Beantown scored a 5.9 for the Thanksgiving Showdown against Detroit back in November. Meanwhile, the game drew a 3.9 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, which served as the host market for the entire event. A non-conference game and the Wild being on the downside of their season may have affected both.

(Source: Mark Erlichson)

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