Under 200K Watched Sid The Kid’s Return on Versus. Seriously?

Ken from Fang’s Bites coming over once again to give you some NHL ratings news.

Numbers are in for Versus’ airing of Monday night’s New York Islanders-Pittsburgh Penguins game which marked the return of Sidney Crosby back to the NHL after 10 months following his concussion. PTM Fearless Leader Steve discovers that the viewership numbers nationally were miniscule. Granted, it was up against Monday Night Football on ESPN, the cable ratings killer, but you would think more people would watch. Only an estimated 198,000 viewers?

Granted, the local numbers especially in Pittsburgh were better, but one would expect hockey fans to be interested. Perhaps it was the Islanders not being a national draw, but I thought this would draw higher numbers.

The lesson from all this? It’s best not to have an NHL showcase opposite Monday Night Football on ESPN and Dancing with the Stars on ABC.

Versus Gets In On The Crosby Act

Ken Fang from Fang’s Bites coming over to PTM today to bring you this post.

About an hour after CBC announced it was picking up Sidney Crosby’s NHL season debut for Hockey Night in Canada, Versus says it will do the same. The network was originally slated to carry Boston-Montreal at 7:30 p.m. ET, but with this new development, Versus has adjusted its schedule.

With Sidney Crosby making his return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup for the first time since January 5, VERSUS is switching from the Boston Bruins/Montreal Canadiens game scheduled for Monday night to air the New York Islanders/Penguins game at 7 p.m. from the CONSOL Energy Center. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET with NHL Live after a 30-minute edition of NBC SportsTalk at 6 p.m. ET

COMMENTATORS: The team of Dave Strader (play-by-play announcer) and Pierre McGuire (‘Inside the Glass’ analyst) will call all the action from Pittsburgh.

That will do it.

Versus Announces Preseason Schedule

Ken from the Fang’s Bites blog with a special guest appearance on the Versus NHL preseason schedule.

Altogether, Versus airs four games in the preseason starting tomorrow with the Toronto at Philadelphia game. To save costs, Versus will pick up the Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and Comcast SportsNet Chicago broadcasts for the four games it will air this preseason. I hope that’s not a trend for the upcoming season and playoffs as Versus did that as a way to cut corners last season.

So Versus airs four games produced by the Comcast family, however, it will produce its own studio show for the intermissions. This means fans won’t get to hear the teams of Mike Emrick, Ed Olcyzk and Pierre McGuire or Dave Strader and Brian Engblom until the regular season begins.

Here’s the schedule.

VERSUS NHL preseason schedule (all times ET and subject to change):

Wednesday, September 21 — Toronto at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Intermissions: McHugh, Milbury, McGuire

Monday, September 26 — New York Rangers at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Intermissions: McHugh, Jones, McGuire

Wednesday, September 28 — Detroit at Chicago 8:30 p.m.
Intermissions: McHugh, Jones, McGuire

Thursday, September 29 — New Jersey at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Intermissions: McHugh, Milbury, McGuire

There you have it.

Versus’ Game 3 Numbers Down From Last Year’s Record

Ken from Fang’s Bites bringing you the ratings for Monday’s Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. This comes directly from the fine people at Versus.

  • First, viewership averaged 2.76 million viewers. That’s down from last year’s cable record of 3.6 million viewers for Philadelphia-Chicago which went into overtime. Again, we take into account one US market and Canadian markets are not measured by the US Nielsen ratings.
  • Viewership peaked at 3.52 million viewers in the 9:30 — 10 p.m. ET half hour in the 2nd period.
  • Versus says in the 8 — 11 p.m. time period, Versus ranked 3rd among all cable networks in primetime.
  • In Boston, Versus saw a 23.37 rating, the highest local rating ever for Versus. And the rating was up 57% from the last time the Bruins were on Versus which was game 7 of this year’s Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay.
  • And Versus was the top rated network on both cable and network TV in Boston and Providence.

A couple of other tidbits Versus threw our way include last night’s Game 3 finished as the most watched Stanley Cup Final game on cable featuring a Canadian team since 1994 (Vancouver/NY Rangers Game 7, 6/14/94; 5.439 million viewers on ESPN). And Game 3 was up 6% from the last Stanley Cup Final game on VERSUS that aired on a Monday night (Detroit/Pittsburgh Game 2, 5/26/08; 2.61 million viewers).

So there you have the Game 3 numbers from Versus in a nice tight red bow. Steve will have your next post.

Fast Early Numbers For NHL Winter Classic

Ken from Fang’s Bites giving you the overnight ratings from last night’s Winter Classic. Looks like we have a hit on our hands.

According to TV By The Numbers, the Winter Classic won the night in the coveted 18-49 demo with 4.56 million total viewers. CBS and Fox had more viewers, but among younger demos, NBC was the winner with a 1.8 rating and a 5 share.

With the game being postponed just the day before and scheduled for primetime, there’s no doubt that the ratings were helped by having just one college football bowl game opposite (the boring Fiesta Bowl) rather than four had the Winter Classic been played as scheduled at 1 p.m Eastern.

So we may see the Winter Classic played under the lights in the future. Consider this, CNBC’s Darren Rovell noted that the Winter Classic and UFC were trending worldwide on Twitter while the Fiesta Bowl was not.

Adults 18-49 Rating/Share: NBC: 1.8/5; Fox: 1.6/5;  CBS: 1.2/3; ABC: 0.9/3
Total Viewers (million): NBC: 4.56; Fox: 4.77; CBS: 6.14; ABC: 3.14

UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: Received a note from ESPN. The Fiesta Bowl received a 6.7 overnight rating beating everything on broadcast and cable, but according to USA Today, the rating was down considerably from last year.

Is Sean Avery the New NHL Golden Boy?

Hi, Ken from Fang’s Bites coming over to talk one of my favorite sports as Steve is away for a week. While he’s gone, you’ll be taken care of here at Puck The Media through various guest columns.

Yesterday, NBC showed the New York Rangers yet again on its NHL Game of the Week.  The network decided to showcase little fireant Sean Avery who after his infamous “sloppy seconds” comment about Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf and his girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert was suspended in December then dropped from the Dallas Stars. We all remember the story. After a brief rehabilitation tour in Hartford, Avery returned to the NHL and the New York Rangers.

Well, it appears all is good with Avery and the NHL once again. Garth Woolsey of the Toronto Star says NBC focused one of its cameras solely on Avery and visitors to the network’s website could see his every move for every shift on the ice.

Woolsey adds:

NBC, if it can, seems to want to treat the Rangers like its home team for featured games of the week. Its website offers video banks of Avery in action, as well as a slide show of no fewer than 55 photos of him on and off the ice. In a league that sometimes appears populated by interchangeably bland characters, Avery has personality. Much as it generally cultivates and trades off its fighting “tradition,” the NHL also specifically loves the attention he brings in the media capital of the world.

While I’m not a fan of his style of play, New York seems to love Avery and Avery seems to love New York. He’s a fashion plate, he’s a man about town and he gets his name in the papers. For the NHL, it’s like a don’t ask, don’t tell policy for Avery. He’s in New York, he gets attention, but as long as he doesn’t cause trouble, he’s a media magnet in the number one market in North America.

But how long will it be before he gets into trouble again and at what cost?

Thanks to Steve for allowing me to post today. Don’t forget to visit Fang’s Bites for the latest in sports media news including NBC, Versus, CBC and TSN in regards to the NHL.