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Caps-Pens draws playoff-type rating on NBC

(There are a lot of numbers here, and some of the key ones are buried later, so here's the news: Friday's Caps game on CSN absolutely slayed the network's record for the most-viewed regular season game, beating it by 33 percent. Sunday's game on NBC drew as many D.C. households as last season's playoff opener against the Penguins on the same network. But more people still watched the game in Pittsburgh.)

At least some media members were surprised that the fantabulous Penguins-Caps game on national television during Super Bowl Sunday didn't draw a bigger national rating than 1.3. "We expected a tad better on Super Bowl Sunday, didn't you?" Puck Daddy asked earlier this week.

That said, the 1.3 tied NBC's season-high for an indoor game, equaling the rating for a Penguins-Flyers game last month, according to Puck the Media. That's why the Penguins are on NBC every week, and for all my blathering about bias, that's a decision I would never question. You put the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and you put the Penguins on national anything.

As you'd expect, the local ratings in D.C. were considerably and impressively higher. Sunday's game drew a 5.3 in this market, equal to about 123,000 households. That's the same rating NBC drew for Game 1 of the Pens-Caps second-round playoff series a year ago. And it's massively higher than the D.C. rating NBC got for the Caps' only regular season network appearance a year ago, a 1.9 for another meeting with Pittsburgh.

(You'll also recall that the previous Caps-Pens game this season drew a 3.3 on Comcast SportsNet, setting a D.C. hockey ratings record for that network. Although I'm here to tell you that record was smashed during Friday's game against Thrashers. CSN got a 4.4 for the Atlanta game, better than 103,000 households. It was the most-watched program by adults 25-54 throughout the entire time period, which is remarkable for a game against the Thrashers in D.C.)

(Though I guess the snow lifted all boats. Jim Williams from The Examiner reported that D.C. had the second-best Super Bowl rating of any city, behind only New Orleans. The truly absurd 56.0 rating made it D.C.'s most-viewed non-Redskins Super Bowl.)

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Two other Caps playoff games last spring--Games 2 and 6 against the Rangers--got D.C. ratings of 1.9 and 3.9 on NBC. By comparison, the Super Bowl Sunday game got a 2.6 rating in Baltimore. (That means 28,000 households in that considerably smaller market.)

What this all boils down to is the expectation of massive TV ratings in D.C. this spring, and possibly another CSN record Wednesday night.

And here's one final number: 13.4. That's the ridiculous rating that Sunday's game got in the Pittsburgh market, again according to Puck the Media. That means approximately 155,000 households watched in Pittsburgh, more than D.C. in a much smaller market. Of course, Pittsburgh's regular cable broadcasts average better than an 8, according to Sports Business Journal, so maybe they just don't have a lot going on.

/undeserved cheap shot

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 9, 2010; 6:24 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media  
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Next: Mark Brunell and Chase Daniel make it big


Caps/Pens should be next winter classic. East Conf team v. West Conf. team be damned...

Posted by: LeeHinAlexandria | February 9, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Great ratings, and who knows if it could have been even bigger without the widespread power outages...

Posted by: TheFingerman | February 9, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse


How do the 'local' ratings factor in though when you look at Baltimore and Richmond? (where I live). Are these ratings you're listing only for the NBC affiliate out of DC? I would guess that Sunday's game drew decent ratings in these other markets also.

Posted by: chombie13 | February 9, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

155,000 broken hearts makes me smile.

I can't wait to see how many Pittsburghers the Caps turn suicidal this spring.

Posted by: ThisGuy | February 10, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure the snow lifted all boats. It might have lifted the Super Bowl numbers (as everyone was inside by then), but around 12pm, everyone on my street was outside trying to dig out, and around 1pm we were done and headed inside to watch the Caps game. In fact, my neighbor - who has caps season tickets, was outside complaining about missing part of the game.

Posted by: tedunni1 | February 10, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

And Comcast still bumps some Caps games to Plus to make room for DREADFUL Wiz. Glad Wiz won't be gumming up the works come playoffs. Plus Howard County Verizon package still does not carry Plus. All I can say is IDIOTS.

Posted by: jamesacarroll | February 10, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

When Dan is communicating ratings, he can combine DC and Baltimore because they can be easily pulled for him. In this report he only is reporting DC. I think he should always include what Baltimore's rating is, since it includes Howard County, as well as portions of Anne Arundel.

Since Richmond and all other outlying portions of VA have the opportunity to view CSN, it would be interesting to know who is watching. Obviously there are signficantly less people in these portions of VA, but I have to believe there are enough people watching to make the ratings jump even more.

Interesting updates Dan. Keep them coming.

Posted by: llamawin | February 10, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

There are contracts, jamesacarroll. I think I read the Wizards are getting a 1.33 on CSN.

Posted by: sitruc | February 10, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I know they are contracts- just voicing my frustration. Season ticket holder but want to see ALL the games- just call me selfish.

Posted by: jamesacarroll | February 10, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

How do these ratings take into account bars? I had 14 people at brunch with me downtown watching the game at Beacon Bar and Grill, with about another 20-30 people intently watching in one of the rooms. I'd normally be at the game or watching at home, but everyone seemed to want to get out of the house and watch with friends.

Posted by: Section104 | February 10, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Then James, stop calling the folks that air the games, idiots. Maybe Verizon is your nemisis... You, yourself is sounding like the idiot...I just think you are bit spoiled. What Caps game has not been broadcasted this season? If it's on TV, and your provider does not air the game, then go to your closest Greene Turtle. Oh James, you complain just to complain.

Posted by: llamawin | February 10, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Whoa, guess I struck a nerve. I guess I'll stay off board in future. I really have no complaints as I can go to local Green Turtle (and I have) or listen on the radio. I have no complaints with Verizon. However, there was an article in the local HO Co paper recently about the large number of Caps fans who have been requesting Verizon reinstate Comcast Plus. So there is a demand for that supply. Other than that, Verizon's been great and that's why I haven't gone back to Comcast.

Posted by: jamesacarroll | February 10, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Fair enough James. Go Caps. I was just busting your chops.

Posted by: llamawin | February 10, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Fair enough James. Go Caps. I was just busting your chops.

Posted by: llamawin | February 10, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

No prob my friend. I agree; Go Caps. I'm happy to report, I will be able to see tonight's game- if power holds out.

Posted by: jamesacarroll | February 10, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Bars, college dorms, outlying areas are not accounted for in the ratings.

Posted by: llamawin | February 10, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing to do in Pittsburgh but watch hockey...

and most of their fans are passed out drunk with the TV on..does that count?

Posted by: SA-Town | February 10, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The Caps Tweeted that Baltimore had a 2.6 rating for the Caps vs. Pens tilt.

I would like to know if there's a ratings map that fans can look at. Just so people can see the differences between the geographic locations and how the ratings areas are divided.

Posted by: Kdarienzo | February 10, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

tv by the numbers cited the bog.

Posted by: sitruc | February 10, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

This shows how popular the Caps have been getting lately. I still want that number to be higher than the Pens though.

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Posted by: Dlewis10 | February 11, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

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