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Posted at 4:22 PM ET, 01/20/2011

Did HBO boost the Caps' TV ratings?

By Dan Steinberg

(By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)

Did the Caps receive a post-Winter Classic bounce? Hard to see how. In their seven games before going outside, they were 4-1-2. In the seven games since beating the Pens, they've gone 2-3-2.

But did the Caps' TV ratings receive a post-"24/7" boost? That seems actually to have happened.

In the 12 games since HBO's series began airing in mid-December, Comcast SportsNet's game broadcasts have received an average rating of 2.1 in the D.C. market, good for about 50,000 homes, according to Nielsen figures. That's up 68 percent from the same 12-game stretch a year ago, which earned a 1.25 average rating in Washington. And that team, you'll recall, was winning games and scoring goals at a higher clip.

(For the season, ratings are up 41 percent over last year, even though the team has been less dominant, which surprises me. And ratings in the Baltimore market, while still modest, are up 76 percent over last year at this time, making Baltimore's budding romance with the Caps still the franchise's best unwritten story. I'll do it soon, promise!)

In the 31 games this season prior to the debut of the HBO show, Caps broadcasts on CSN had earned an average D.C. rating of 1.56. That means the last 12 games -- which largely but not entirely coincided with the end of the Redskins season -- have seen a 35 percent spike. And five of the network's six highest-rated games of the season have come since December 23.

So come up with whatever explanation you'd like, but I'd say it's hard not to think that the exposure from HBO and the Winter Classic have helped push the Caps' local TV ratings higher.

By Dan Steinberg  | January 20, 2011; 4:22 PM ET
Categories:  Caps, Media  
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Well, by the time 24/7 came on the air, the Redskins season was completely in the tank. The Skins-Bucs game on 12/12 (days before 24/7 started) was very lightly attended as you illustrated (thanks for publishing my photo...).

It was also around that time that the bloom off the new Bullets season and John Wall faded too.

Certainly HBO played a role in boosting interest in the Caps, but it looks to be a part of a perfect storm.

Posted by: CapsNut | January 20, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that the Caps ratings are still going up even though they are not the juggernaut that they were last season.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 21, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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