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02-17-2007, 12:50 AM
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E. M. Swift on the numbers - what little there is:

Actually it encourages the average fan to change channels, if he hasn't done so already. Ebven with the inclusion of a team from New York –m the nation's largest media market, at 6.68 million TV homes – NBC's ratings for the first game of the Finals fell 35%, to 12.6, from a year ago, when Chicago faced the Phoenix Suns. Imagine what they would have been had the Pacers, with their market of only 850,000 TV homes, made it to the league's showcase event. “We expected our ratings to drop,” says McIntyre. Last year's average rating was the highest ever, 17.9. It was the third straight year the Bulls and Michael Jordan were in the Finals, people knew them, and they were playing against Charles Barkley. We had a lot of dynamics in our favor.”
As yet ESPN's ratings do not reflect this surge in hockey interest. With all the Rangers' games contractually not available on ESPN in the New York market (the MSG Network carries the games there), ESPN has averaged a 1.8 rating, miniscule by NBA standards. “Nobody should read too much into the ratings,” says Bettman. “We were off TV so many years, we're in the rebuilding process. If we were still getting those numbers in five years, I'd be disappointed.” The NHL also had six games televised this season on an over-the-air network, ABC, where it drew a lowly 1.7 avearge rating.
On the marketing front NHL-licensed merchandise will exceed a billion dollars in reatil sales this year, a 600% increase over the last five years. True, that figure is well below the $2.5 billion in U. S. reatail sales generated by the NBA, whose gross licensing income has increased 333% over the same period.

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