Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Buffalo Tops All-Star Game Ratings

Buffalo was the highest rated local market for the 2008 NHL All-Star Game with a 3.3 rating and the only market in the United States where Versus was the #1 rated channel for that time slot. However, that's down significantly from 7.1 rating from the 2007 All-Star Game that featured three Sabres in the starting line-up. In 2007, an additional 2.7 rating was registered on CBC; CBC's rating in Buffalo for this year's game is not yet available.

Here are ratings for some markets with Versus cable network ranking in parenthesis:

1) Buffalo: 3.3 (#1)
2) Pittsburgh: 3.0 (#3)
3) Detroit: 2.8 (#4)
4) Philadelphia: 2.2 (#3)
5) Minneapolis-St. Paul: 2.1 (#2)
6) New York: 1.0 (#11)

Monday, January 28, 2008

NHL All-Star Game Rating

Sports Business Daily reports that the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta drew a bigger rating than the 2007 Game in Dallas, but it was a still a poor figure compared to the past. The rating in Atlanta is especially troubling.

Last night's NHL All-Star game on Versus earned a 0.76 rating in the metered markets, which is up from a 0.54 last year. Host city Atlanta's preliminary rating was a 0.25, which is down from a 0.54 for host-city Dallas last year.

The 2007 All-Star Game actually garnered a .7 national rating last year, so the increase in fairly small. The figures for local markets will likely come out tomorrow.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

League Wide Comparison

On December 18th, the owner of the Washington Capitals, Ted Leonsis, posted a look at American TV ratings around the NHL. Now that we have Buffalo's figures, here's a comparison. Keep in mind that Buffalo's figures are from January 18th, while the other teams are current as of December 18th. (Data for Carolina, Nashville, Boston, and Colorado was not available.)

1) Buffalo Sabres: 8.50
2) Pittsburgh Penguins: 5.08
3) Detroit Red Wings: 4.64
4) Minnesota Wild: 2.62
5) St. Louis Blues: 2.43
6) Philadelphia Flyers: 2.30
7) New York Rangers: 1.08
8) Columbus Blue Jackets: 1.04
9) San Jose Sharks: 0.90
10) Tampa Bay Lightning: 0.66
11) Chicago Blackhawks: 0.60
12) Washington Capitals: 0.50
13) Dallas Stars: 0.41
14) New Jersey Devils: 0.36
15) Los Angeles Kings: 0.31
16) Anaheim Ducks: 0.27
17) New York Islanders: 0.25
18) Phoenix Coyotes: 0.23
19) Atlanta Thrashers: 0.18
20) Florida Panthers: 0.17

Sabres/Devils Rating and Season Average

The Sabres shootout loss to the Devils on January 12th earned an 8.3 rating for MSG. Considering that the Devils have historically played a sleep-inducing brand of hockey, it was a home game, it was game #9 of what would eventually be a 10 game winless streak, and it was competing with the second round of the NFL playoffs, that's a very good number.

Also of significance from Pergament's article, the Sabres have averaged an 8.5 local rating on MSG so far in the 2007-2008 season. While that's technically an increase, a reporting error lead to ratings figures being artificially lower last season, so the true rating number is merely an estimation. It seems safe to figure that Buffalo drew between a 9.0 and 10.0 in 2006-2007. The lower figure this year, however, doesn't include the gigantic rating for the Winter Classic or any other nationally televised games that tend to draw big numbers. The fact that the Sabres still have the highest rating in the NHL among American teams despite struggling on the ice is a testament to the NHL's popularity in Buffalo.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winter Classic Ratings

The Winter Classic on NBC earned a 38.2 rating 58 share locally. In Pittsburgh the game drew an impressive 17.7 rating with a 30 share. Nationally, the match-up between the Pens and Sabres earned the highest rating for an NHL regular season game since February of 1996 with a 2.6 rating and 5 share.

The figure in Buffalo is even more impressive when you consider there were 82,000+ people in attendance at Ralph Wilson Stadium and HSBC Arena. In a market as small as Buffalo, that's likely ~5 ratings points. Additionally, the Ice Bowl was an "event", which have been notoriously difficult to properly rate since s many people throw parties and get together to watch the game.

All in all, it's a step in the right direction for the NHL. TV Week lists the top ten rated markets:

Top 10 Metered Markets:

1. Buffalo, N.Y., 38.2/58

2. Pittsburgh 17.7/30

3. Minneapolis 5.1/11

4. Denver 3.7/7

5 (tie). Providence, R.I., 3.5/7

5 (tie). Las Vegas 3.5/6

7. St. Louis 3.3/5

8. Boston 3.2/6

9. Sacramento 2.9/6

10 (tie). Richmond, Va., 2.8/5

10 (tie). Hartford, Conn., 2.8/5