Where Were You on February 23, 1975?

If there’s anyone else still nay-saying the Winter Classic, please read the following from CP via NHL.com:

NEW YORK – The Winter Classic drew the biggest American television audience for a regular-season NHL game in nearly 34 years.

The Detroit Red Wings‘ 6-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day attracted an average of 4.4 million U.S. viewers on NBC, the network said Monday.

That’s the most since a Philadelphia FlyersNew York Rangers game on Feb. 23, 1975, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Thank you, and good day to you, whomever you might be.


Outdoor Hockey Popular in West Palm Beach, Orlando

Here’s NBC’s official press release hyping the Winter Classic ratings.  Wow, hype for hockey ratings.  Weird.

lassic 2009, broadcast New Year’s Day on NBC from historic Wrigley Field, earned a 2.9 overnight rating and a 6 share (1-4:15 p.m. ET), the best overnight NHL regular season rating in nearly 13 years (Feb. 3, 1996 on Fox, six-game regional, 3.0/7) and a 12 percent increase over last year’s inaugural event (2.6/5, 1-4:45 p.m. ET). The Detroit Red Wings defeated theChicago Blackhawks 6-4 in the second U.S. outdoor game in NHL history.

“Year one was an extraordinary experience. Year two was the establishment of what promises to be a great tradition,” said NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer.

Top 10 Metered Markets:
1. Chicago 11.8/21
2. Detroit 10.5/20
3. Buffalo 10.1/20
4. St. Louis 5.3/10
5. Pittsburgh 4.4/8
6. Denver 4.2/10
7. Providence 3.5/7
8. Indianapolis 3.4/6
9. West Palm Beach 3.3/6
10. Orlando  3.2/5

So there you go.  Let’s expand to Providence and Indianapolis, post-haste!

BREAKING NEWS: NBC Draws 2.9, Up 12% From 2008, For Winter Classic


The NHL On NBC drew a 2.9 for its Coverage of the Winter Classic

The NHL On NBC drew a 2.9 for it's Coverage of the Winter Classic



This comes to us from Gene Laverty of Bloomberg:

The game at the home of baseball’s Chicago Cubs was the third annual outdoor contest and had an overnight rating of 2.9, according to Nielsen Media Research. That tops the 2.6 rating for last year’s match in snowy Buffalo, New York, between the Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins, which had the biggest television audience for an NHL game since 1996.

Ratings points are the percentage of the estimated 111.3 million U.S. households with televisions that watched the broadcast. Preliminary local ratings were 11.8 in Chicago and 10.5 in Detroit, according to Nielsen data.

We predicted a 3.0 for the Classic, so this is certainly good news for the NHL, once again topping some of the highest ratings for any non-Finals/All-Star hockey telecast in decades.

UPDATE: Sports Media Watch points out that the game his the fourth-highest rated telecast in NBC’s three-plus years of hockey.  For all of them, head post-jump.

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Local TV Ratings, Canada Style: Uh, Not So Good, Eh?

William Houston is the guru for TV ratings, Canada style.  I prefer him to most American counterparts because he usually reports an actual number of viewers.  Today, he had a piece on Canadian TV ratings.  They are not great, to be frank.  Let’s go bulletpoint on this:


  • Toronto: 341,000 viewers per game, down 17%
  • Vancouver: 228,000 viewers per game, down 19%
  • Ottawa: 88,500 viewers per game, down 18%
  • Calgary: 130,000 viewers per game, up 11%
  • Edmonton: 145,000 viewers per game, up 29%
  • Montreal (Games available nationally): 773,000 viewers per game, up 21%


So obviously, you see that while there is some good news in Alberta and Montreal, everywhere else is trending downward.

However, there is some good stuff nationally in Canada, where ratings are going up, and among key demographics.

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TV Ratings Cavalcade: Mostly Positive News League-Wide, Avery Drums Up Good Numbers For Stars-Flames


The TV Ratings Cavalcade is a semi-regular feature that we hope to have appearing monthly here at Puck the Media.  It’s simply a compilation of local and national television ratings for the NHL’s 30 teams.  We’ll do our best to put these numbers in realistic terms for you, the reader.

Nielson.com’s TV Ratings blog has a big post on NHL local ratings today, and we’ll break down what we thought was most interesting:


  •  11 U.S. Teams have increases in ratings of 10% or higher so far this season.  In a crowded Fall and Winter marketplace, that is certainly good news.
  • #1 in local ratings?  No surprise, it’s the Sabres, who draw an 8.9 on MSG in Buffalo, which comes out to a little over 70,000 viewers.
  • However, the Pittsburgh Penguins trump the Sabres in market size, and their #2 mark of a 5.7 on FSN Pittsburgh comes out to a little over 200,000.  
  • Other teams doing well year-to-year: Detroit, Minnesota, Philadelphia, St. Louis.
  • Teams in huge markets showing big-time growth just this year: No surprise, it’s Washington (up an astonishing 140% to a 1.2, #9 media market), Chicago (up 71% to 1.2, in the #2 media market) and San Jose (up 50% to a 1.2, #6 media market)
  • Other teams with big increases: Colorado, Los Angeles, the Rangers, Tampa, Boston.

In other local ratings news, Sean Avery – in the end, we suppose – did draw some buzz for the Stars-Flames game.  Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News Sports Media Blog, who was all over hockey stuff yesterday, reports:

Rating for the Stars-Flames game on Channel 27 was a 1.5. That’s 37,350 homes.
Rating for the Clippers-Mavericks game on Fox Sports Net was a 1.1 That’s 27,390 homes.

Yes, I know that broadcast television draws better ratings than cable and the Mavericks were home but any time a Stars game in low-def outscores a Mavericks game in high-def played on the same night that’s news. My inside ratings guru calls it “very unusual.”

I just don’t know what to think of this.

Anyway, we’re sure for every positive note, there’s a negative one, but it’s certainly good news when the NHL is doing solid business locally in Top 10 TV markets.  Gary Bettman must be salivating at having the Hawks up 70%+ going into the Winter Classic.