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Caps set new ratings records on CSN

(By Elise Amendola - AP)

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.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 3, 2010; 2:11 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media  
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What are the Wiz pulling in? What do the Wiz get when they were decent a few years back (tops in the east during the first half of the season). Just looking for some comparisons.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | February 3, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

This is all comes as no shock. I have coworkers that have started watching about every game where they never even watched a full game two seasons ago. It's infectious. Hopefully the popularity can sustain and the Caps start getting put on CSN instead of CSN+ when they play the same night as the Wiz. It's much more imperative to see hockey in HD as opposed to basketball because of trying to follow the puck. And CSN+ is not in HD.

Posted by: TheRealDuffman | February 3, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I moved from Virginia to Texas five years ago...and subscribe to DirecTV Center Ice just for the Caps games--watch most all of them live, use the DVR when I am away so I see every game. Wonder if they track how many people are watching from outside the DC Metro area?

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 3, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

RealDuffman-Couldn't agree with you more. HD does more for hockey than any other sport. Further, HD does less for basketball tha any other sport. It just doesn't add a lot to watch hoops in HD. My buddy who never watched hockey before is now watching the Capitals every night. In turn, he is watching far fewer basketball games. Rock the Red!

Posted by: croftonpost | February 3, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I too would be curious to see how the Caps numbers now compared to the Wiz at their recent peak a couple seasons ago.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | February 3, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

What are the Wiz rating now when they go head to head with the Capitals on TV? 0.0?

Posted by: JohnWWW | February 3, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

as for the 4 teams ahead of us......Buffalo ,Pittsburgh, and St. Louis don't have NBA teams in their market, nor do they have big time college basketball competing for viewers in their market.

Posted by: colezig37 | February 3, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Their is only one team in Washington and that's the CAPS. The rest of the teams are dysfunctional. The Nats are trying the other two SUCK.The wizards for two decades and the Redskins since SNYDER.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | February 3, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

They may not have NBA, but they definitely have plenty of college basketball, colezig37.

Posted by: sitruc | February 3, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Love all DC teams, but I actually think the Nats will be decent this year. In 2011 they will compete for a wild card spot. To the Caps, I'm one of the new watch every game guys. Started last year. I've always been a Caps fan and yes followed the team as a kid in the mid to late 80's and have followed throughout. I think the big thing is that unlike football, baseball, and College Baseketball, I was not a hockey fan per say. I simply rooted for the caps. I have become a Hockey fan in the last 2 years. Its a huge difference. I will watch hockey even if its not the Caps and that makes me root even harder for our team

Posted by: JDB1 | February 3, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. Why do you say "that Wiz-Cavs game should not have ranked above any regular-season Caps game in CSN history" Steinz? Nothing like a new season full of hope and a good opponent to get increase interest, plus if memory serves it was a good game.

Posted by: Hobes | February 4, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

What relevance is the first four games of the Wiz season? What are they doing now? And for the season?

All records will be moot and ratings will be double or triple for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Posted by: TCJR2000 | February 4, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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