Caps set new ratings records on CSN
In case there was any doubt that Caps fever is ramping up to previously unseen levels....
* Tuesday night's Comcast SportsNet broadcast of the Caps-Bruins game, in which Washington won 11 straight for the first time in franchise history, received a 3.24 average rating in the D.C. market, which translates into about 76,000 households. That was the second-best rating for a regular-season game in the network's history, behind only the 3.3 for the Pittsburgh game in late January. The third-highest came at the end of the 2008 season, and the fourth-highest was Sunday's home game against the Lightning, which scored a 2.5.
* That means in the last two weeks, CSN has recorded three of the four highest regular-season Caps ratings ever.
* And also bear in mind that the beginning of Tuesday's game was going against American Idol, and the end of Tuesday's game was going against the season premiere of Lost.
* The past seven games have earned CSN an average rating of 2.2. I don't have the ability right now to compare that around the NHL, but Sports Business Journal posted U.S. regional sports network ratings through January 2, and only four U.S. NHL teams had a higher rating than that. (Sabres, Penguins, Red Wings, Blues.)
That's in no way a fair comparison; you'd assume every team gets at least some boost from the end of the NFL and college football seasons, and I'm cherry-picking seven of the best games of the season for the Caps. The Sports Business Journal study also didn't include the Hurricanes or Predators. Either way, the 2.2 is a lofty number for the Caps and CSN.
* Through the 52 games it has broadcast on CSN and CSN+, the network is averaging a 1.4 rating in the D.C. market. That's 24 percent higher than through the first 52 games a year ago, and 153 percent better than through the first 52 games of the 2007-08 season, which obviously started with a lot of losses.
* In a few demographics, the growth this year is even more impressive. Among adults ages 25-54, ratings are up 62 percent from last year and 546 percent from 2007-08.
* As always, the caveat. Through their first four games this year, the Wiz were averaging a 2.5 household rating on CSN. That included a marquee meeting with LeBron, and Gilbert's return, and three road games, but still, that Wiz-Cavs game should not have ranked above any regular-season Caps game in CSN history.
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