This was published in the Globe & Mail yesterday but I only spotted it today. And even a bit late, good news is still good news…
At the midway point of the season, NHL television audiences in Canada and the United States are showing major increases.
TSN’s average viewership is up 17 per cent from last year to 481,000 a game. The increase for Montreal Canadiens’ telecasts on French-language RDS is 22 per cent, to 783,000. Versus in the United States is averaging 308,695, a rise of 18 per cent. And the CBC, despite losing three Toronto Maple Leafs telecasts in its new NHL deal, is drawing prime-time audiences that are up 4 per cent from last year, to 1.206 million a game.
Those are some huge increases. Any theories as to why?
P.S. I should say, my own off-the-top-of-my-head theory is that it relates to the success of the Winter Classic last year. That seemed to be a turning point for a lot more positive NHL coverage from non-hockey-focused sports media, instead of the knee-jerk “hockey sucks” analysis many of those outlets seemed to depend on before that. It also appeared to bring in a lot of viewers who didn’t typically watch hockey.