Posted on: April 30, 2009 6:10 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2009 6:12 pm

Ratings up, attendance up

Today I read more reports about NHL playoff attendance increases and TV ratings increase.

Kevin McGran at the Toronto Star:
The NHL may not be able to hide its delight with first-round playoff attendance numbers.
Many believed the post-season would be a casualty of the recession, but average attendance for the opening round increased and all but four of the games were sellouts.

Greg "I hate the NHL, and I wish I wasn't blogging about it" Wyshynski at Yahoo! Sports was critical.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Star writes an "all is well" NHL playoff attendance article without mentioning how attendance is counted or reported publicly.

Gotcha Mr. Negative. Name a sports league - NBA, MLB or NFL - that reports attendance differently than the NHL? They all do it by tickets sold. Anyway, I watched plenty of games on TV, and with the exception of Detroit, the arenas all looked damn near capacity to me.

Bill Beacon of the Canadian Press:
With fans flocking back to see good teams with star players in Chicago and Boston, the NHL says its rinks were full to 100.9 per cent capacity through the 44 first-round games, its highest figure in 16 years.
Only four games — two in Carolina and two in Anaheim — failed to sell out.
It also reports a 22 per cent increase in viewers on the Versus network in the U.S., which averaged a 0.44 cable rating, or 333,163 households and 442,301 viewers.

Also there was this tidbit.
It was a game between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia on NBC on April 19 that did best — a 1.3 rating, or 1,542,710 households and 2,223,151 viewers. The league called it the most-watched NHL conference quarter-final game on "over-the-air" TV since 2001, up 63 per cent from a comparable NBC game last year.

NBC bested the the Mickey Mouse networks?! Wow, that's hard for me to believe that the synergy between NBC and Versus beat the synergy between ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Radio, etc., when they had games in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Very hard to believe NBC surpassed the "sports leader." Maybe it's because the Mickey Mouse networks weren't giving it their all.

Finally, Jeff Z. Klein at The New York Times:
Tuesday’s two Game 7’s did not end well for metropolitan-area fans, but there were a lot of them watching.
The relatively high ratings for the Rangers and Devils came even though their decisive games were telecast simultaneously on MSG’s two networks.
The average ratings for both eventful series showed significant increases over last year’s numbers, with the Rangers averaging a 2.50 (185,846 households) on MSG, compared with a 2.13 in 2008. The Devils averaged 1.36 (101,100 households) on MSG Plus — way up over last year’s 0.59.

Posted on: January 12, 2009 4:37 pm

Classic draws record numbers

The second Winter Classic drew record viewers.

Winter Classic draws most American TV viewers for NHL game since 1975
NEW YORK — The Winter Classic drew the biggest American television audience for a regular-season NHL game in nearly 34 years.
The Detroit Red Wings' 6-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field on New Year's Day attracted an average of 4.4 million U.S. viewers on NBC, the network said Monday.
That's the most since a Philadelphia Flyers-New York Rangers game on Feb. 23, 1975, according to Nielsen Media Research.

This is truly awesome. Wow!
Category: NHL
Posted on: January 3, 2009 7:10 pm

Classic sweaters, apparel, ratings

OK, maybe this will be my last Winter Classic related blog entry.

The Red Wings and Blackhawks throwback jerseys were great in my opinion. Seeing them on the ice bumped up my intial thoughts about them. Last year's sweaters were too, but I'm not a big fan of the Penguins baby blue ones. They just have so much winning history with the black and gold ones.
One blogger wrote Detroit should keep the D sweater. I disagree; I'm in favor of keeping them for special events. The D jerseys will probably be a third jersey for Detroit next year.
Anyway while I'm a big fan of the looks of the Winter Classic jerseys, I'm not a big fan of the new-style sweaters. The authentics are expensive, and the replicas look horrible and feel cheap. So I don't know if I'll ever buy another NHL jersey, which is a shame.
That said there was other apparel I saw on TV or in pictures that I loved.
The jackets the coaches wore, the coats the players wore, the toques the players wore, and a hoodie I saw a fan wearing. See below.


Coats & Toques

I can't find the hoodie, but it's red with the D on it. It's available in black, but not red. The Wings don't wear black. Anyway good luck finding any of those things on the NHL website. I can't, but I'd buy every single one of those items. Disappointing.

As I mentioned yesterday, the ratings were up by 12 percent. Disappointingly, Detroit finished second behind Chicago. Also, more people in Detroit watched the Michigan State Spartans lose in a bowl game than watched the Red Wings win the Winter Classic.

More Detroit television viewers go Green than Red
Looks like Hockeytown was really Spartytown on New Year's Day.
The Winter Classic hockey game, shown locally on WDIV Channel 4, between the Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks had a 10.5 rating and a 20% share in Detroit. That translates to 203,000 households.
During pretty much the same time slot, the Capital One Bowl between MSU and Georgia aired on WXYT Channel 7. It beat out the Wings, drawing a 15.2 rating and a 28.3% share. That's roughly 293,000 households.

How many households in Detroit were watching the CBC feed instead of the NBC feed? That would be nice to know.

Here's the breakdown.

Top 10 Metered Markets:
1. Chicago 11.8/21
2. Detroit 10.5/20
3. Buffalo 10.1/20
4. St. Louis 5.3/10
5. Pittsburgh 4.4/8
6. Denver 4.2/10
7. Providence 3.5/7
8. Indianapolis 3.4/6
9. West Palm Beach 3.3/6
10. Orlando 3.2/5

Indianapolis, my hometown, finished eighth, pretty good for a city without an NHL team. Boston and New York aren't in the top 10. Those towns might be involved in the next Winter Classic. Of course maybe those two cities weren't "metered."
Posted on: January 2, 2009 7:09 pm

More Winter Classic coverage

Many players, fans, journalists, and bloggers raved about the second Winter Classic. Reviews have been mostly positive, and there are so many from which to chose, but this was one of my favorites.

Adam Proteau of The Hockey News:
By the time the first puck dropped – with an outdoor temperature of 31.9 degrees Fahrenheit – the fans’ pent-up energy was coursing through the stands like a virus everyone intended to contract.
And from there, the Wings and Blackhawks put on a fast-paced, spirited, wholly entertaining on-ice show that was at once markedly physical and yet thankfully not filled with over-the-top goon theatrics.
It was the best the NHL had to offer: two superbly skilled teams swept up by a playoff atmosphere and rivalry steeped in tradition and mutual loathing. It was a back-and-forth affair featuring all kinds of expected talent displays and even some unexpected ones (most notably a wraparound goal that, if only for a millisecond, made Hawks enforcer Ben Eager look like the second coming of Doug Gilmour).

The TV ratings for this year's outdoor contest between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks increased 12 percent over last year's.
Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The Detroit Red Wings’ 6-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks yesterday at Wrigley Field topped last year’s National Hockey League outdoor game by 12 percent in preliminary television ratings.
Ratings points are the percentage of the estimated 111.3 million U.S. households with televisions that watched the broadcast. Preliminary local ratings were 11.8 in Chicago and 10.5 in Detroit, according to Nielsen data.

Also, to clear something up from yesterday's blog entry.
I wholeheartedly disagree with the announcer who said the wind pushed Pavel Datsyuk when he scored the goal.
To say he got a boost from the wind is hard to believe. Datsyuk has had similar goals scored where he's split the defense. It wasn't the wind. It was talent and athleticism.

Anyway I could go on forever about how cool, literally and figuratively, these outdoor games are. There's just gotta be one next year too, and I can't wait.
Oh well, I guess I will. Tomorrow my sports calender is full anyway: Hoosiers at Iowa, Sacramento at Pacers, Colts at San Diego, and Red Wings at Minnesota. Hey now, there's an outdoor match-up, Hockeytown vs. The State of Hockey!
Category: NHL
Posted on: January 1, 2009 10:30 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2009 10:34 pm

Another Classic

Another classic Winter Classic. Truly amazing. Kudos to the NHL for staging another outstanding outdoor game.

It was truly a great game today. Made all the better by the Red Wings coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win it, 6-4.
I don't know why the Wings got down early. If I had to guess it was because they were visiting team at the Winter Classic and the hometown crowd's enthusiasm carried over to the Blackhawks. Or maybe, as Dan Cleary stated, it was the head wind the the Wings had to battle against. James Mirtle noticed that too.

Very nice goal by Pavel Datsyuk. I don't know about any wind-assistance here, but the majority of the goals were scored with the wind at a team's back.

NBC call; CBC call

Pavel Datsyuk's goal was beautiful. It's a shame some hockey writers and bloggers think there's no artistry in hockey.

Reading several articles tonight it seems many think there will be more Winter Classics in the future. Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner, hinted as much.

Wes Goldstein:
In that respect, the NHL got all that it could have hoped in what now seems likely to be an annual event on the league's calendar, shoehorning itself into a day traditionally meant for college football and coming up with an entertaining contest that actually stood on its own merits.

Scott Burnside:
It (the NHL) has hit on a signature event that should continue to draw the casual fan for years to come, regardless of where the game goes.
Bettman predicted that the number of teams interested in hosting an outdoor game would grow and that the insistence with which teams would pursue the event likely will grow, as well.
The league is expected to seize on the successes of the first two Winter Classics to establish a bid process not unlike that which determines hosting the All-Star Game and the entry draft. Teams and cities will have to put together a plan outlining why they deserve to host the game.

The only criticism, and it's very minor, were the announcers who kept saying, "the Cup goes through Detroit." Once is enough. I'm a Red Wings fan, and I got tired of hearing it. I imagine all Blackhawks fans did as well. Other than that, while not great, the broadcast of the game was fine. Some fans have been far more critical of NBC's broadcast than me.
Category: NHL
Posted on: October 25, 2008 10:44 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2008 11:39 pm

Winter Classic II jerseys

Well the Chicago Blackhawks are taking it to the Detroit Red Wings right now. Hawks up, 4-2 going into the third.
At the first intermission the NHL released the Winter Classic II jerseys. They look pretty sharp in my opinion, especially Detroit's though I am partial. Anyway, I've always liked that D, which I've always thought was a Gothic D, not an Old English D as the NHL claims.


Not a big fan of the lace-up, new jerseys, but that's a minor complaint. The lace-up feature seems superfluous on the new jerseys.
Anyway they look real good to me. I can't wait until January 1, 2009. Should be a fun day.
Oh and it's also pretty cool all 30 teams are playing today.
Category: NHL
Posted on: April 3, 2008 9:50 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2008 10:01 pm

Surprise, Vindication

Well the surprise is Anaheim Ducks GM disagreed with Adam Proteau's term limit idea for the NHL's czar disciplinarian.
Yes I'm using surprise facetiously. Burke is shady, especially when it comes to his relationship with the League office. The shadiness seems to work both ways too.

Patrick Kane, Nicklas Lidstrom and some sports writers vindicated my theory about yesterday's game.
Chelios' penalty gave Hawks lead, momentum, but he claims Kane dove

Now all I need is somebody to agree with me about Sidney Crosby's uncalled cross-checks against Martin Straka.
Maybe the cross-check threshold is four before the referees call a penalty.
Posted on: April 2, 2008 10:05 pm


Anybody watching or listening to the Red Wings - Blackhawks game tonight?
I ask because this game represents a classic example of referee inconsistencies.
In the first period Patrick Sharp hit Brian Rafalski. I thought it was a clean hit, but Rafalski took exception to it. So off goes the Detroit defenseman.
About 15 seconds later, Chris Chelios repeatedly cross checked Patrick Kane. Repeatedly. I'm no expert, but I would've called a penalty too. Chelios, needless to say, didn't think it should have been a penalty.
So I mention this because on Sunday Sidney Crosby repeatedly, REPEATEDLY, cross-checked Martin Straka. The refs didn't call a penalty, even though they were in viewing distance.
Double standard!
I hate it.
Hawks up  5-2. I'm not liking that either.
Category: NHL
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