There has been quite a bit of discussion within the hockey world as of late, as to whether the outdoor game has run its course. NoVa Caps George Foussekis recently wrote about the number of outdoor games each season, and whether or not the NHL has gone too far (too many games). The ratings are out for this years Classic, and the results are somewhat mixed, but the trends are becoming clear.
15.5 percent of homes with a TV in the St. Louis market tuned in to NBC’s coverage. That was the second-best rated Blues regular-season game dating back to 1995, behind only the 17.5 figure drew for the contest in 1996 in which Wayne Gretzky made his home debut as a Blues. This years
In Chicago, this years Winter Classic did a 7.4. This was the lowest Chicago rating for any of the three Winter Classics in which the Blackhawks participated in. By comparison, the Capitals-Blackhawks Winter Classic game two years ago did an 11.4 in the Chicago market.
The story is not so bright outside of the teams local television markets. Nielsen says this years Winter Classic telecast was seen by an average of 2.56 million viewers. This is the lowest national rating ever for any of the nine Winter Classic games. The previous low was 2.75 million, for last year’s Montreal-Boston game.
WRITING ON THE WALL
While national television ratings continue to drop, it’s clear there is still a local appeal Factor that needs to be considered. However, the continued use of “marquee” teams is starting to lose its punch from a from a national perspective, and the national audience is losing interest.
By Jon Sorensen