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Game 7 smashes Caps TV ratings record

With all the crazy numbers coming out of the Montreal series about power-play futility and goal-scoring droughts and blocked shot fiestas, here's the craziest one: Game 7 drew an 8.1 average household rating on Comcast SportsNet in the D.C. market. That made it the highest-rated Caps game in CSN history.

The previous record? February 10 at Montreal, the game in which the Caps were going for 15 straight wins. That game earned a 5.8. That means the Game 7 number eclipsed the previous high by 40 percent.

The previous most-watched playoff game was Game 6, which earned a 5.6 rating. Game 7 topped that by 45 percent. During the game CSN, was the most-watched station in the D.C. market.

The rating number translates to 189,000 households, with another 37,000 households tuning in in the Baltimore market. At the peak, during the third period, there were a combined 297,000 households watching in the D.C. and Baltimore markets.

That also means that six of the 10 highest-rated games in CSN history occurred since the win streak began in January. As much as the interest was growing over the past two years, that 14-game stretch seems to have taken things to a different level. (Nine of the 10 highest rated games in network history have now come against either Montreal or Pittsburgh.)

The Canadiens series averaged a 5.3 rating in the D.C. market, up 13 percent from the ratings for the second-round meeting with the Penguins a year ago. Considering the differences -- an earlier round, against a non-rival with no geographic link to Washington -- that's just remarkable. The ratings were up 77 percent over last year's first-round series against the Rangers.

As always, I should note that The Post has a business relationship with Comcast SportsNet, allowing me to earn money for watching Ivan Carter get pummeled into the boards by Alan May.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 30, 2010; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media  
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I also think some of the poor early series numbers were the result of fans, expecting to be watching hockey until June, "pacing themselves" and not getting too involved with a first round, 8 seed opponent. Clearly as the series got more "real," the numbers started to come around. Holy lost playoff revenue, Batman.

Bog, is there a value for the local Versus ratings too? There probably were a few of those viewers too, increasing the total DC households.

And a last thought on ratings, while we all had a chuckle at how the nfl draft beat the caps last week, was that ever put into perspective (aka, the NFL draft beat everything else sporting, including Lebron and i'm sure most other NHL series)? While it's fun to laugh at the local NFL obsession, I wonder if the numbers from that Thursday draft showed that it wasn't just DC who lost in that ratings situation.

Posted by: JJones-CapitalWeatherGang | April 30, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

any Caps games on Versus were blacked out in the DC Market as regional sports networks have exclusive rights to first round matchups.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | April 30, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

**cue the "caps fans are sooo bandwagon" comments**

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 30, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Dan, you should also note that the Feb. 10 game could have been even higher, but a good number of us were still without power or cable from the blizzards. I actually ended up having to listening to a very bad English-language radio broadcast out of Montreal on my XM, the only radio in my house that could run on batteries!

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 30, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The interest generated by their season, as evidenced by the tv numbers, makes the choke all the more painful. Will as many people fall for it again next season?

Posted by: poguesmahone | April 30, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully this high ratings don't convince CSN that thier current lineup and talking heads are sufficient. Besides the game crew (Beninati, Koken, etc) I'm surprised they'd air most of this stuff. I'm almost embarrassed for some of these hosts and guests. Let's hope this increased exposure leads to an upgrade in network talent.

Posted by: fushezzi | April 30, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse


Totally agree, and think your question is a good one. I think for the most part yes. For diehards this loss was extremely painful because we have lived through so many Caps playoff collapses over the past 25 years. For fans that have just become interested in the last year or two, I would imagine they see the Montreal series as just an unfortunate setback. They started following the Caps because they were a fun team made up of interesting characters who played in an exciting style and won a lot of games (while other DC teams didn't win). For better or worse, all that's still going to basically be true next year...And if not, Brooks Laich will keep them interested by personally changing their tires...

Posted by: TheFingerman | April 30, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Did this game only broadcast to people in the D.C./Baltimore area or was it broadcast nationally? It would be interesting to also know the national ratings.

Posted by: KPaige1 | April 30, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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