Hockey Night in Canada Conference Finals Ratings

Here is some information CBC sent me on the ratings for the NHL Conference Finals. Note that they have compared this year’s numbers to 2009 as this is the first time since that season that no Canadian teams have made the Conference Finals. It is (more than) worth noting that the PPM method of calculating viewers did not exist in 2009. Since PPMs were introduced in the fall of 2009, sports ratings have risen overall. So, take the numbers with a grain of salt. I have my own analysis following the release.

Third Round Data:
· Round 3 averaged 1.36 million viewers aged 2+, up about 22% from 2009, the last time there were no Canadian Teams in the 3rd Round
· Over 12.3 million viewers tuned-in to some part of HNIC’s coverage of Round 3, about 37% of the population, or over 1 in 3 Canadians
· The most watched game of Round 3 was Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers, which averaged 1.8 million viewers aged 2+
· New Jersey/New York Rangers series averaged over 1.4 million viewers (6 games)
· Los Angeles/Phoenix series averaged over 1.2 million viewers (2 games)
Source: BBM Canada, Total Canada, Unconfirmed and Confirmed data, 2012

Overall Playoff Snapshot (TV audience):
· Rounds 1-3 averaged 1.6 million viewers aged 2+
· Over 23.2 million viewers tuned-in to some part of HNIC’s coverage thus far, about 69% of the population or over 2 in 3 Canadians
Source: BBM Canada, Total Canada, Unconfirmed and Confirmed data, 2012

Overall Playoff Snapshot (Digital):
· CBC Sports received 3.2 million unique visitors
· Playoff Pulse has been used by over 164,000 unique visitors and had 575,000 page views
· CBC Sports mobile platforms had over 2.2 million visits
Source: Adobe SiteCatalyst, Apr 9 – May 26, 2012, CBC Research Toronto

Here are the ratings for the three games of the Western Conference Final on TSN:

Game 1 – 1.357 million
Game 2 – 1.135 million
Game 3 – 1.051 million

That’s an average of 1.181 over three games for TSN, which impressively isn’t far off from CBC’s third round average. It is also about equal to CBC’s average for games 4 and 5 of the Western Conference Final. Proving that cable networks can draw similar numbers to over-the-air networks. This is good news for TSN and Sportsnet heading into negotiations for the next NHL TV contract.

The total average for the Western Conference Final was about 1.2 million. The average for all 11 games of the Conference Finals was around 1.3 million.

CBC is quite right that playoff ratings are up over 2009. However, they are well down compared to last season. The Eastern Conference Final (Tampa Bay vs. Boston) averaged over 2 million viewers (and 3 of the 7 games aired on TSN). That’s about 25% more than the Eastern Conference Final this year.

The Western Conference Final is even further down. Last year’s series (San Jose vs. Vancouver) attracted an average of 3.26 million viewers over four games on CBC. That’s a full two million higher than this year. In fact 2 million viewers didn’t even tune in to once single game in the 2012 Conference Finals. Now, fair enough, if the Canucks were still in the playoffs the games probably would have averaged in the 3 to 4 million range.

I don’t have the ratings for games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final; however, game 3 averaged 2.155 million on CBC Monday night. That isn’t even half of what Boston-Vancouver game 3 averaged in 2011 (5.4 million). It is also below the game 3 rating in 2010 (Chicago vs. Philadelphia). Game 3 of that series averaged 2.96 million on a Wednesday. Granted, again, those are more popular teams and the feeling among many hockey fans is the Kings have already won the series, unless there is a miracle.

9 thoughts on “Hockey Night in Canada Conference Finals Ratings

  1. I watched about 10mins of the finals this year…hockey being played is boring. The refs aren’t calling much. LA deserves to win the cup but I believe the hockey is heading back to the dead puck era. I am finding myself watching the basketball games and i am not even a fan.

    • I’m with you Jay, for the first time in my life, I watched more playoff basketball than hockey. Tried watching game one of NHL Finals, make it almost through 2 periods before I was bored out of my mind.

      Tired of watching these less than intelligent coaches that only teach their players how to skate backwards.

      • I guess I’m opposite of you guys then. I started watching more NBA during the NHL lockout. This is probably the first year since the lockout that I haven’t watched any NBA Playoff games. I’m not even sure if I’ll watch The Finals to be honest. The late start times (after 10pm here in Atlantic Canada) don’t help.

  2. Are you surprised that Sportsnet didn’t send their Hockey Central crew to the finals? Any idea why they didn’t?

    • I don’t know if they ever do (except for last year because of Vancouver). TSN has sent their guys to the Final for a while now. They used to send Gino Reda and do That’s Hockey on-site too, but they don’t anymore.

  3. I’m glad they didn’t. The TSN guys standing 4 wide makes their presentation look goofy and amateurish.

  4. Why would they spend money to fly to L.A when MacLean And Kypreos are just as irritating in the Toronto studio?

  5. No wonder the ratings are down. The product is awful. The officiating is at best amateurish and biased. It is like there is a different rule book for the playoffs. It rates like WWE. The suspicious person inside me says Bettman wanted an all American playoff to promote hockey in the States and the refs made it happen.
    Even the GMs are wanting to look at the reffing this year.
    If they don’t get a grip, I will not watch next year at all and many I have talked to feel the same way. Perhaps if CBCs numbers fall badly they will demand to pay less and the owners will finally see that Canada is the golden goose and they are killing it.

    • You do realize that all of the popular American teams got knocked out in the first two rounds too, right? Yeah, the NHL set-up a Final that will be the lowest rated Cup Final in 5 years on both sides of the border to increase popularity in the US. Try again when Detroit plays Boston.

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