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Olympic Hockey A Tremendous Success Across United States

Mar 1, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

Yesterday was a banner day for hockey in the United States, as the
U.S. team took the Canadians to the brink in an electrifying gold medal
game that wasn’t decided until overtime. For many, it was one of the
greatest hockey games they’ve ever seen which is interesting since many
were saying that about the first USA-Canada game.

But it wasn’t
just the hardcore hockey fans that enjoyed the game in the United
States. On the last day of the Olympics, the gold medal game became
became the most-watched hockey since 1980.

Per Steve
Lepore of Puck The Media
:

According to Sports
Business Daily (reg.
required
), the Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Game drew an astronomical
17.6/33 overnight rating.  This is up 46% from the 2002 USA/Canada
showdown, and will very likely be the highest-rated hockey game since
1980.  The share means that 1 in every 3 Americans with a TV were
watching the game.  This is, to put it professionally, out of this
world.

Via Sports
Media Watch:

Sunday’s game is on pace to finish as the highest rated hockey
telecast in the United States since 1980.

To put the numbers in perspective, Sunday’s game drew a higher
overnight rating than every World Series game since 2004 (including
every game of Yankees/Phillies last year), every NBA Finals telecast
since 1998, and every NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four game since at
least ’98.

Excluding the NFL, the 17.6 overnight for the game is the
second-highest of the year for any sporting event, behind only the
Texas/Alabama BCS National Championship Game in January (18.2).

It was a triumphant day for USA hockey and hockey fans all over the
United States, as 25 million people tuned in to watch the game. Despite a
heartbreaking loss in overtime, the hope is that the NHL retains the
fans they gained for the day, building the sport even more in the U.S.

This
is a sport that has been working valiantly to recover from the lockout
five years ago, and yesterday’s incredible game is being talked about in
every corner of the United States. That can only be a good thing for
the NHL moving forward.

  1. Andy C - Mar 1, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    “Despite a heartbreaking loss in overtime, the hope is that the NHL retains the fans they gained for the day, building the sport even more in the U.S.”
    The only problem is that the crappy TV contract the NHL has will prevent this from happening. How can you expect to capitalize on the kind of interest generated from yesterday’s Gold Medal Game if your fans can’t tune in to watch? And with the Western markets completely ignored by both Versus and NBC, how do you possibly keep those fans?
    The NHL will fail to build on this momentum, and Gary Bettman has no one to blame but himself for it.

  2. Russell - Mar 1, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    I agree with the previous poster that NBC completely ignores the west coast.For NBC Chicago is the west coast.Nevertheless I do think there will be a slight boost in the ratings temporarily at least.Hey,NBC they have a hockey team in LA,the 2nd biggest market in the US and they’re a playoff team.

  3. The Real Deal Dylan - Mar 1, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    Especially when you consider that the NHL is leaning to resigning with Versus at the end of the season. Sunday is the only consistent day of NHL hockey on television and it is dominated by the Blackhawks, Red Wings, and Capitals. For example replacing the Stars vs Avs matchup on March 14th with the Hawks and caps.

  4. Southern Canuck - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:49 PM

    I’m a Canadian expat living in Central America. I drove 2 hours to a hotel that carries NBC to watch Sunday’s game, expecting what non-Americans typically perceive as very biased announcing (very blatant in the downhill ski races earlier). However, I was incredibly impressed by the announcing and the commentator panel who did an excellent job on that game. Kudos to NBC and even to Jeremy Roenick (a very talented player who used to drive Canadians nuts with his mouth)!! I was, as a Canadian, disappointed to see that the best 2 players in that game were American: Patrick Kane and Ryan Miller. Maybe we can dangle some cute Canadians in front of them and get them to immigrate north in time for the 2014’s…

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