2005–06 regular seasonEdit
NBC earned a 1.5/3 overnight Nielsen rating for its first week of NHL action in the 2005–2006 season. The regional coverage was down 11.8% from a 1.7/4 for the first week of NHL on ABC in 2004. NBC's regional coverage of New York Rangers-Detroit Red Wings to 35% of the country earned a 1.4/3 overnight rating. The game earned a 1.3/3 in New York and a 7.8/17 in Detroit. The NHL on NBC got only an 0.7 rating on April 8, 2006, or 803,000 households.
2006 Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
When NBC went head-to-head with The NBA on ABC on May 7, 2006, ABC got a 4.3 (3.3 million households) rating whereas NBC got a 0.9 (693,000 households) rating. The first round of ratings for the 2006 playoffs on NBC were down between 13% and 19% from two years earlier on ABC, and the regular season ratings were more dismal still. The May 13, 2006, Carolina-New Jersey game on a Saturday afternoon had fewer viewers than the surfing competition that was its lead-in. More people watched a poker event that particular weekend than watched that hockey game. NBC's 1.1 average rating for the 2006 NHL playoffs was 21% lower than ABC's pre-lockout average of 1.4 in 2003–04.
Still, NBC claimed in May 2006 that the ratings were about what it expected, and that it would turn a profit on its NHL coverage for the 2005–06 season. Thus, the NHL also stood to gain money on the deal.
2006 Stanley Cup FinalsEdit
For Game 3 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, NBC got a 1.7 overnight rating, with one point equaling 1% of the United States' 77 million overnight TV households. That was down from a 2.0 for Game 3 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. Out of four television networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX) broadcasting programming on Saturday, June 10, NBC came in dead last. Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals earned a mere 2.88 million viewers, and a 1.1/ 4 among adults 18–49 from 8–11 p.m. Game 4 (June 12) earned NBC another fourth place (technically, fifth place if you count TNT the season premiere of The Closer) finish. Game 4 got a 2.6 rating (with a 1.5 in the 18–49 demo) with only 3.85 million viewers. Game 7 earned NBC a 3.3 rating and 6 share. That was down by 21% from Game 7 in 2004—the last season before the lockout. In 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning's Game 7 victory over the Calgary Flames had a 4.2 rating and a 7 share on ABC. It was at or near the top in all coveted TV viewer demographics.
In all, the five Stanley Cup Finals games that NBC aired averaged a 2.3 rating and 4 share. That's down by 12% from a 2.6/5 on ABC in 2004. In addition, NBC averaged 3.6 million viewers, which was down by 8% from ABC's 3.9 million in 2004.
- The first week of action on NBC (1/13 at 2:00) (posted a 1.1 rating, down from the 1.7 from 2005–06's opening week, but on par with The NHL on NBC's 2005–06 average.
- Week 2 (1/28 at 3:30), with a move to Sundays, produced a 1.3 rating for three games despite facing steep competition from the National Basketball Association and golf action featuring Tiger Woods.
- Week 3 of The NHL on NBC (2/11 at 3:30) drew a 0.9 overnight rating with a 2 share, lower than the rating for CBS' presentation of Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross and bull riding on NBC.
- Week 4 (2/18 at 3:30) featuring Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby facing Washington's Alex Ovechkin drew a 1.0 overnight rating, beaten in its 3:30–6:00 p.m. timeslot by ABC's presentation of figure skating (1.7).
- Week 5 (3/4 at 12:30) featuring Colorado/Detroit and Pittsburgh/Philadelphia drew the best overnight rating of the season (1.3/3) on NBC in its earliest timeslot. Unlike previous weeks, when hockey had to compete against NASCAR, the NBA and golf, the only competition was college basketball (Kentucky Wildcats/Florida Gators - 2.1/5) and the Arena Football League (1.2/3).
- Week 6 (3/11 at 12:30) featuring Boston/Detroit and Carolina/NY Rangers drew a par for the course 1.1 rating. Despite the dropoff in market size (with Carolina being featured), the NHL came close to the NBA game on the same day (Sacramento Kings/Denver Nuggets - 1.5).
- Week 7 (3/25 at 12:30) rode the Sidney Crosby bandwagon to another 1.1, despite airing a blowout game (Boston/Pittsburgh) in most of the country. Most of the U.S. was switched to the other game (Rangers/Islanders) by the third period. The NHL telecast on NBC drew a larger national audience than ABC's National Basketball Association telecast (Phoenix Suns-Sacramento Kings). Each network earned a 1.0 rating (percentage of households tuned in), but NBC pulled in a larger audience share (percentage of time that people spent watching the telecast), 3 compared with 2. In total viewership, NBC outdrew ABC 1.31 million to 1.26 million.
- Week 8 (4/01 at 12:30) NBC, with two weak regional matchups (Detroit-Columbus and Los Angeles-San Jose) slumped to a .71. That's the lowest rating for an NHL broadcast in years.
2007 Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
- In the second week of playoff coverage, Detroit’s victory over Calgary had an overnight rating 1.3, while New Jersey’s series victory over Tampa Bay earned .9.
- In the third week of playoff coverage, on Saturday NBC's national coverage of the San Jose-Detroit game on Saturday had a 1.0 large-market rating, down 9.1 percent from coverage of a New Jersey-Carolina game a year ago. The Rangers-Sabres telecast on Sunday drew a viewers in 1.3 percent of homes in the 56 largest U.S. media markets. In Buffalo, the ratings story is much different, where more than half of the TV sets in Western New York were tuned to the Sabres-Rangers game, breaking records previously held by the Buffalo Bills.
- In the fourth week of coverage, Game 5 of the Sharks-Red Wings semifinal series received a 1.4 overnight on Saturday, up 40% over last year’s comparable game (Devils-Hurricanes). Game 6 between the Rangers and Sabres, leading into the Kentucky Derby, earned a 1.4 on Sunday. There was no comparable game last year. In Buffalo, the Sabres’ series clinching victory earned a 32.6 rating and 60 share. That means 60 percent of the sets in use in Buffalo were watching the game.
- In week five of playoff covereage, the final game of the Sabres-Senators series on Saturday earned 1.2 overnight rating and a 3 share. Game 5 of the Ducks-Red Wings matchup on Sunday earned 1.6/4.
2007 Stanley Cup FinalsEdit
- According to Mediaweek, Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on NBC (Games 1 and 2 were on Versus) received just 1.73 million viewers and a 0.5/ 2 among adults 18–49 in prime time.
- According to Mediaweek, Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on NBC received 3.02 million viewers and a 1.2/ 3 among adults 18–49 in prime time. The year-ago Stanley Cup match-up scored 3.13 million viewers and a 1.3/ 4 in the demo, based on the final nationals on June 12, 2006.
- According to Mediaweek, Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals (Ottawa vs. Anaheim) earned a 2.1/ 3 in prime time. Comparably, that was 25 percent below the year-ago overnight series average for the Stanley Cup Finals (2.8/ 4 in 2006).
On New Years Day 2008, the NHL hosted an outdoor game that featured the Buffalo Sabres vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, NY. The game received a 2.6 neilsen rating, the highest since the NHL debut on Fox over ten years prior.
The second week of coverage featured the Boston Bruins against the New York Rangers, the game got a 1.1 rating (12 p.m. start).
The NHL signed an agreement in 2008 to extend the NHL on NBC to the 2008–2009 season. Ratings for the 2007–2008 season rose 11 percent from the previous year. The Detroit-Pittsburgh matchup returned the Stanley Cup finals’ television ratings to close to pre-lockout levels.
The four games on NBC averaged a 3.2 rating and a 6 share, the highest since Carolina-Detroit in 2002 averaged a 3.6.
The average rating doubled last year’s record low of 1.6.
The 2009 NHL Winter Classic drew a 2.9 overnight rating, setting a record for the most watched NHL regular season game since 1975.
- ↑ Hiestand, Michael. "Weekend TV ratings review", May 9, 2006.
- ↑ Rovell, Darren (May 22, 2008). Great hockey, yes, but is anyone watching?. ESPN.com.
- ↑ Associated Presss (June 10, 2010). Stanley Cup finals ratings improve. Yahoo! Sports.
- ↑ "NBC Sees Drop In Winter Classic Ratings Amid Positive Reviews", Sports Media.
- ↑ Benigni, Adam. "Cup Finals Draw Big Buffalo Numbers", WGRZ, June 1, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-06-02.