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Caps TV Ratings Up 100 Percent

These folks drive down the TV ratings. (By Richard A. Lipski - TWP)

In a buzz-less sports town like ours, you take whatever measurements of buzz you can get. Official Caps beat writer Tarik El-Bashir ran through a bunch in his season-opening story: nearly 10,500 season-ticket equivalents, a 93 percent renewal rate (6th highest in the NHL), a 50 percent increase in Web traffic, a 151 percent increase in Caps merchandise sales, and so on.

(Traffic for Tarik's blog, I should note, is also wayyyy up from a year ago, putting Caps Insider solidly among the Post's elite sports blogs.)

And now here's another measure, perhaps not unexpected but still fairly remarkable. The team's first four television broadcasts on Comcast SportsyNet have drawn a rating 100 percent higher than the first four games a year ago, according to the network. The station is currently averaging a 1.3 rating for Caps games in the D.C. market, which translates to about 30,000 household per game.

That number would be about 45 percent higher than the Wiz drew on CSN last year. It's also 67 percent higher than the Caps' overall average for last year, which included the late-season surge.

Put in more easily digestible terms, more D.C. households have been turning into each Caps game than would typically turn into three Nats games combined.


Now, is this some permanent surge? Based on what we've seen with the Wizards over the past two seasons, I'm guessing not. If your last name isn't Skin, you'd better keep winning in this town if want people to tune in. But at the very least, if you're a blogger hunting down traffic, this wouldn't be a bad time to put the Caps squarely in the rotation.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 21, 2008; 12:29 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media , Nats , Wizards  
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Make it 30,001 households. I am watching it on Comcast through Center Ice up here in CT.

Posted by: CT Caps Fan | October 21, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

30,004. 3 of us split center ice here in Brooklyn what what

Posted by: Ben | October 21, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow, great news that people in Washington are finally paying attention to the most exciting hockey team in the league. And very interesting that their ratings are 45 percent higher than the Wizards were last year.

Now it would nice if the rest of the Post sports staff and editors actually noticed--Dan, Tarik and Katie Carrera excepted, of course, because they're doing great work. Wise, Boswell, Wilbon--they going to actually go to a game and write about it sometime? Follow the team at all? (Yeah, I know Wise wrote a pretty good preview/Boudreau column, but that's the least the Post could do.) Dan, you wrote a few months ago that the fans with the best case for lamenting the sports coverage in the print edition of the Post were Caps fans, and it looks like nothing has changed.

Posted by: Fingerman | October 21, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Ditto what he said. WaPo coverage is shameful. btw how's that basketball player girl from Delaware or wherever doing?

Posted by: wapo print caps coverage stinks | October 21, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

if tarik's blog is so popular, why are there no live chats scheduled? hmm..hmmm?

Posted by: Chat less in DC | October 21, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

the same reason why the skins and the nationals have a splash page and the caps don't... the higher ups don't care about hockey at the Post.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 21, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The Caps are about to play a couple games starting in the middle of the night (literally) so that will have a short-term impact on their ratings.

Posted by: WDC | October 21, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Tarik is usually Online on Thursday or Fridays every week during the season.

Posted by: Elwood | October 21, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

This is really exciting news! I'm so glad to see people are getting more interested in hockey here in D.C. I really do wish that all their games were televised in this area though, whether on Comcast or local network channels. How do we make this so?! Will the ratings change that?

Posted by: Caps Rock | October 21, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: MikeR | October 21, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Aren't 79 games being televised? Granted, I want all 82 on Tv too, but that is still pretty good.

Posted by: Big Goob | October 21, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse


Nearly every game is televised this year. I believe there are only two that aren't, and the Capitals are not allowed to televise them based on a horrible contract between the NHL and the Versus network. Every game that can be on TV, is.

Posted by: FS | October 21, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Caps Rock - Do you have or have access to NHL Center Ice?

Posted by: this space for rent | October 21, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

That's what I said earlier this morning.

Posted by: | October 21, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

This space for rent,

If CapsRock is in the area, then there are no Caps games on Centre Ice ice at all, they are blacked out locally. The only games that are not televised locally are games that aren't televised anywhere at all, so they wouldn't be on centre ice. Versus has one night a week when no one else is allowed to televise NHL games other than Versus. This includes local and regional broadcasts such as on Comcast SportsNet.

Posted by: FS | October 21, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

it's too bad caps tickets are as much as they are. I remember a few years back getting tickets for like 5 or 8 bucks

Posted by: as | October 21, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Yeah the west coast ratings will hurt the numbers a bit, unless most of the Season Ticket Holders tune in to offset the casual fans going to bed. I know I'll be watching tonight.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 21, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Great news for Ted and everyone else associated with the Caps and their fans. I'm especially happy for Ted, though. Nothing like putting your millions , reputation and sanity on the line for a massive rebuild that was about as popular the economy is right about now. The plan appears to baring the fruit of a Stanley Cup contender. Jump on the wagon for the ride, folks!

Posted by: Riddler | October 21, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

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