With every Canadian team, and many popular American teams, eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, second round ratings tumbled. Not just over the impressive first round ratings from a few weeks ago, but also compared to last seasons second round. TSN averaged 774, 000 viewers for their nine games in the second round. Or, as they chose to spin it, an average of 883, 000 through the first two rounds. That number isn’t so good when you consider the first round averaged 927, 000, which was a 41% increase over 2011.
CBC’s biggest loss was the Canucks. They averaged about 1.5 million viewers for the Capitals-Rangers series, with Devils-Flyers coming in at just over a 1.4 million average. Those numbers are both up from CBC’s average of 1.2 million for four All-American second round games last season. CBC averaged 2.8 million for the Canucks last year, which brought their overall average up to 2.16 million. As a result, the approximate 1.5 million average this season is still down 30% over last year. Not good news for ad sales in later rounds.
TSN was also hard hit by late starts and two short series. Last season, with teams like Washington, Detroit and San Jose headlining their coverage, TSN averaged 1.12 million. This year, with those teams replaced by Phoenix, St. Louis and Los Angeles, they only managed 774, 000. That’s about a 30% decrease over last year as well.
The Conference Finals aren’t looking a lot better. While 1.36, the rating for game 1, is better than anything they did in the semifinals, it is still down from the 1.86 and 1.61 ratings they achieved for games 2 and 3 of the Eastern Conference Final last year (Tampa Bay vs. Boston). And also over 2 million less than the comparable game (which, yes, had Vancouver in it) last season.