Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hockey ratings take a tumble

Hockey ratings take a tumble
NHL's post-lockout honeymoon is over for TSN and CBC
Nov. 30, 2006. 06:35 AM

Canadian hockey fans' euphoria at having their game back, which produced record TV ratings, has apparently cooled off.

National ratings for CBC and TSN show a significant decline from last season, the first after the NHL lost an entire season to a labour dispute.

And while the league has been touting the attractiveness of the "new NHL," with its new rules designed to open up the game, ratings thus far indicate the league is not much more popular here than it was prior to the lockout.

There are some possible explanations, but TV executives are mystified by the size of the decrease.

Hockey Night In Canada ratings are off 19 per cent for the early game and a whopping 33 per cent for the late one compared to last year. TSN's ratings have dropped 18 per cent.

That follows a season that saw CBC ratings soar to their highest level in more than a decade and TSN's set an all-time record.

"We all thought the numbers would come down, but this is more than we thought," admits Joel Darling, CBC senior executive producer. "It's a bit puzzling.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Adam Proteau: Time to invest in NHL broadcasts

Adam Proteau: Time to invest in NHL broadcasts
The Hockey News

There are a couple ways to interpret the news that the NHL will be the first pro sports organization to partner up with Internet phenomenon YouTube.

The optimist in me says the league deserves a whole heap of credit for hitching part of its wagon to a cutting-edge technology. He also says youngsters who spend much of their spare time perusing the world wide web – on which YouTube is now ubiquitous – will become familiar with the game and its players in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to using the Betamax video terminals mom and dad still have hooked up in the rec room.

The pessimist in me counters by noting that a greater degree of familiarization with the NHL will breed contempt among fans when they realize what those of us lucky enough to have the Centre Ice satellite package already know: the stark disparity in the production quality of televised U.S. games remains a sore spot for a league eager to expand its horizons beyond the gate-driven present.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Taped Curling Beats Hockey in Ratings

Taped Curling Beats Hockey in Ratings

SWEEPING WITH STARS: Curling gets the star treatment on NBC Sunday with something called the Elite Challenge (2 p.m.) It's a made-for-TV event that pits the U.S. men's and women's champions against each other, with skier Picabo Street and speed skater Dan Jansen joining in. "For people who had never even touched a rock until the morning of the event, (Street and Jansen) were unbelievably good," says announcer Don Chevrier, who will be joined by fellow Canadians Don Duguid and Elfi Schlegel. "It's a fun, made-for-TV thing but it will go a long way toward building curling interest in the United States." If you're wondering why NBC is doing this, don't forget that in 2004 taped curling beat ABC's NHL broadcasts in the ratings. ... The serious curling season starts tomorrow with the Continental Cup (1 p.m., CBC). ... The Vanier Cup gets the A-list treatment tomorrow (3 p.m., The Score) with a broadcast in high definition complete with virtual first-down line.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

'It's empty in here': Will Blues fans come back?

'It's empty in here': Will Blues fans come back?
By Jeremy Rutherford (email)

In the late 1990s, Blues defenseman Jamie Rivers was in his first stint with the Blues. His fondest memories are of the crowds that gathered to watch their beloved Bluenote.

Nearly 21,000 fans packed the arena now known as Scottrade Center, and when they left, the buzz from the building continued to ring in their ears.

"It was just crazy in there," said Rivers, who rejoined the Blues last summer. "You couldn't hear anything at times. Just the screaming alone, it's almost like it would mess up your thoughts."

Read more here.