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.

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