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Monday, April 21, 2008

NHL on NBC Playoff Ratings Up Big Time; Flyers and Capitals Draw Record Ratings

NBC registered huge increases in playoff ratings this weekend according to Sports Business Daily via SportsMediaWatch as "Game Five of the Washington Capitals-Philadelphia Flyers series drew a 1.2 overnight rating up 33% from a 0.9 for Flames/Red Wings Game 5 last year and Game Six of the Detroit Red Wings-Nashville Predators series drew a 1.3 up 18% from a 1.1 for Devils/Lightning Game 6 last year. The 1.3 overnight is the second-highest of the season for the NHL on NBC, behind only the 2.6 for the Winter Classic in January."

I'm quite surprised that the Capitals-Flyers series didn't draw more viewers, conversely I'm astonished that the Red Wings-Predators series drew so well. I thought they'd have a hard time breaking a 1.0. There are two possible reasons for this, there were a lot of Red Wings fans nationally who didn't tune in last year for the series vs. the Flames, that did this year, or there are more Predators fans in the US than I thought.

The Caps-Flyers series should have creamed the Red Wings-Predators series though. Philadelphia is a hockey crazy city where only the Eagles are really in the same league as the Flyers. Washington isn't the craziest hockey town, but it is a big market which is supporting the Capitals very well this season. Their combined market population (metropolitan area population) is 11.1 million people compared to approximately 6 million combined market population of Detroit and Nashville metropolitan areas. Philadelphia is the nation's fourth largest media market, Washington is ninth, Detroit is eleventh and Nashville is 30th.

To add to the surprise, this series is setting record numbers in terms of viewers in both local markets. According to, Game Four set an all-time record in viewership for a Washington Capitals game drawing a 3.3 rating locally. Game Three gave the Philadelphia Flyers their highest rated game in two years, drawing a 5.4 rating locally.

I guess there are just a lot more Red Wings fans outside of the Detroit Market, and not as many Flyers fans as I thought.

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