Tuesday, June 04, 2013

TV Ratings Belie Notion that Hockey is a "Niche" Sport

I'm a football and hockey fan, as regular readers of my blog probably should realize. I like baseball and college basketball as well, but those typically rate behind football and hockey on my interest scale. And sometimes that gets thrown back in my face by making the comment that hockey is just a "niche" sport, and that I'm an outlier in the sports community.

Is that true?  Well, maybe not as much as others might have presumed.

I've been pleasantly surprised by NBC's decision to televise the Stanley Cup Playoffs in primetime on broadcast television the last two Saturday nights.  Was it a reach for NBC?  Turns out no, because NBC actually won the network TV ratings battle with game one of the Boston/Pittsburgh series.  That's something that NBC probably hasn't done since the end of football season.

It even beat Fox's coverage of Major League Baseball.  And it wasn't a fluke...because NBC did the exact same thing the week before, with hockey topping baseball in the ratings.

Disclaimer:  the ratings for the NBA more than doubled the NHL TV ratings on Saturday night.  Not really surprising with the star power of LeBron James, but the NBA stopped being interesting to me over 20 years ago.  And frankly, when the biggest story of the NBA last night turned out to be Justin Bieber and the manager of some rapper named "Flo Rida", well, I'm not coming back to see what I'm might have missed... Because I didn't miss a damn thing, according to my Twitter feed last night.
Bottom line... hockey isn't a niche sport.  Football is #1 in this country without a doubt.  But save the niche label for sports like soccer.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

Even as the article you linked indicates, it's not so much soccer that is struggling in the US, but MLS Soccer. The quality is much lower compared to European leagues. With so much access to world-class soccer, MLS suffers.