Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/22/13 at 02:02 PM ET
from Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel a the New York Times,
From September to January, while the lockout wore on, some predicted the league’s fans would punish the owners and players by staying home and not tuning in. But as basketball fans did after the N.B.A.’s 2011 lockout, N.H.L. fans came back immediately and in droves. To wit:
■ N.H.L. teams played to 97.5 percent capacity, and average attendance was 17,768, up 2.6 percent compared to last year’s full-season figure. Average attendance for 25 of 30 teams was up or equal to their full season 2011-12 attendance average.
■ There were healthy leaps in regular-season network television audiences on both sides of the border. NBC’s viewership increased 15 percent (compared with a 2011-12 figure that omits the Winter Classic, which was canceled this season because of the lockout), and NBC Sports Network posted an 18 percent jump, for the N.H.L.’s strongest national cable audience since 1993-94. On local television, 22 clubs had double- or triple-digit percentage increases in viewership.
■ Stanley Cup finals viewership is also up in both the United States and Canada, with NBC and NBC Sports Network averaging 5.356 million viewers over the first four games, the largest network audience in the United States since that figure was first tracked in 1994.
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