Caps TV Ratings on Record Pace
With the unofficial mid-point of the NHL season here, it's time to take yet another look at the Caps' TV ratings. In bullet-point style.
* Executive summary: With more than 27,000 households, on average, the Caps have tripled the Nats' TV audience, and are attracting more local TV viewers than division mates Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Florida, combined. The team's actual households number, though, is still less than half that of Pittsburgh or Philly.
* The Caps are averaging a 1.2 household rating, which is the percent of the D.C. area's 2.3 million households that are tuning in. It's the highest average rating the team has received since Comcast SportsNet was formed in 2001. The previous high at this point came in the 2001-'02 season, when the Caps pulled a 0.99. That marks a huge success.
* The current number translates into something like 27,859 households, which both makes sense (if you look at the number of clicks our Caps blog and stories receive) and is depressing (because 27,859 households ain't enough to pay my bills).
* According to CSN, ratings are up 123 percent from a year ago, while the ratings in the target demographic of 18-49 year-olds are up a whopping 153 percent. The network's ratings for Capitals Postgame Live, meanwhile, have gone up 200 percent from last year at this time.
* The highest-rated CSN games this season have been the Jan. 6 meeting with Philly, the Dec. 28 game against Toronto, the Dec. 18 game against St. Louis, the Nov. 12 divisional showdown with Carolina, and the Oct. 16 grudge match with Pittsburgh. Those games all got at least a 1.7, which translates to about 39,500 households.
* As Sports Business Journal noted this week, the Caps have the second-biggest increase in attendance in the NHL (up 29.8 percent), and the biggest increase in local TV ratings, by a lot. Only the Coyotes have also seen local ratings go up by as much as 100 percent from a year ago.
* Percent increase, though, can be a misleading stat, since it doesn't account for the past seasons, when ratings fluctuated based on whether the On Frozen Blog guys decided to watch games together or separately. So instead, let's take a look at the U.S.-wide local ratings numbers, according to SBJ. Of the 22 American markets for which data are available, the Caps have the 10th highest average rating.
* Their number is, of course, dwarfed by cities like Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Detroit, but it's considerably better than division mates Florida, Tampa or Atlanta. (Carolina's number was not available.) Verdict: much, MUCH better, but probably still not worthy of "hockey town" status.
* But even rating feels very opaque. What I I really want to know is just how many households are watching these various teams, to prepare me for which teams will arrive with the biggest armies of fans, and which deserve more mockery than we ever heaped on the Nats' fan base. So I ran the local ratings against these DMA market numbers, and came up with the following list of average local households tuning in. Among those 22 U.S. teams, the Caps are attracting the 11th-most households.
1. N.Y. Rangers, 76,568
2. Detroit, 71,297
3. Pittsburgh, 71,006
4. Philadelphia, 65,494
5. Buffalo, 55,980
6. Boston, 52,036
7. Minnesota, 38,417
8. Chicago, 37,373
9. San Jose 30,955
10. New Jersey 28,248
11. Washington 27,859
12. Denver 25,149
13. Los Angeles 21,486
14. St. Louis 16,497
15. Anaheim 16,397
16. Columbus 13,239
17. Dallas 12,947
18. N.Y. Islanders 12,637
19. Phoenix 9,279
20. Tampa Bay 8,928
21. Atlanta 5,450
22. Florida 2,320
* Um, Florida? 2,320? Seriously?
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