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.

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