Thursday, June 8, 2006

NHL Game 3 could bottom out TV ratings

NHL Game 3 could bottom out TV ratings
By Michael Hiestand Updated

History might be in the making: NBC's Game 3 of the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night just might produce the lowest broadcast network prime-time rating ever.

Reasons include: the series having a Canadian team — Edmonton — and our neighbors to the north aren't counted in U.S. ratings; the other team — Raleigh, N.C.-based Carolina — is in a midsized Southern city; neither team is a big brand name; and Saturday is TV's least-watched night.

Such factors were in play when a Tampa Bay-Calgary Finals game on a Saturday in 2004 scored the second-lowest-rated network prime-time rating ever of 1.4% of U.S. households. It was tantalizingly close to the all-time mark: 1.3% for snowboarding on NBC in 2002.

Monday, June 5, 2006

NHL's Strong Comeback Marred by Poor TV Ratings

NHL's Strong Comeback Marred by Poor TV Ratings
By Tarik El-Bashir and Thomas HeathWashington Post Staff Writers
Monday, June 5, 2006; Page E01

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stood before a sea of cameras in New York last July and promised the league would emerge from its canceled 2004-05 season with more excitement and an economic system that would give all 30 teams a shot at profitability.

As the Stanley Cup finals begin tonight, Bettman appears to have achieved most of his goals: scoring and attendance are up and revenues are healthy, rule changes have made the game faster and more thrilling, and any team -- even those from small markets -- can win, as the finals between the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers proves.

The big exception is television ratings -- a key revenue driver and measure of a sport's mass appeal -- which have gone from bad to worse. The NHL playoffs, mostly relegated to the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), a second-tier cable channel known for hunting and fishing programs and its Tour de France coverage, have barely registered with the American public.

NBC's ratings aren't great, either."You look at the playoff [ratings] numbers, and they have been beaten pretty soundly by poker and bowling," said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon.

NHL TV Ratings Suffer

NHL TV Ratings Suffer
June 5, 2006 3:45 p.m. EST
Christopher Cornell - All Headline News Contributor

(AHN) - Following the lock-out season in 2004-2005, the NHL has rebounded nicely this year and has achieved many of the goals it set out to accomplish.

The games have featured higher scoring, attendance is up, revenues are healthy and thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, there's more parity between all the teams.

One thing that hasn't improved from years past are the television ratings. In fact, they've only gotten worse. ESPN declined to renew their contract with the NHL this season, leaving the broadcasting rights to the Outdoor Life Network which usually covers hunting, fishing and the Tour de France.

According to the Washington Post, OHN posted a 0.4 rating for this year's playoffs thus far. In 2004 ESPN's coverage posted a 0.7. NBC's coverage of select playoff games this year posted a 1.1. ABC posted a 1.5 rating two years ago for the same amount of games.