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NBC’s opening day coverage posts best regular season ratings since 2002

Jan 20, 2013, 2:41 PM EDT

Not counting Winter Classic telecasts.

The wounds of the lockout might persist, but NBC’s opening day ratings shows that NHL fans are aware that hockey is back.

NBC’s NHL regional two-game coverage (Chicago at Los Angeles and Pittsburgh at Philadelphia) earned a 2.0 overnight rating, which earned some impressive milestones if you exclude Winter Classic telecasts:

  • That mark represents the best NHL regular season game rating on any network since 2002.
  • Logically enough, that means it’s the highest-rated regular season contest since NBC took over NHL coverage in 2006.
  • This represents a 67-percent increase from last season’s average for NHL-on-NBC telecasts and an 82-percent increase from the most comparable weekend (Chicago at Detroit on Jan. 14, 2012) from 2011-12.
  • Chicago (6.6 rating), Philadelphia (7.8) and Pittsburgh (19.4) enjoyed record regional regular season ratings. Los Angeles’ 1.5 mark is the best in that market since March 4, 2007.
  • Buffalo (6.6) and Boston (2.5) rounded out the top five markets.

Hopefully fans stick around for more coverage during this shortened season. Speaking of which, the Buffalo Sabres currently host the Philadelphia Flyers on NBC as of this writing.

  1. crosbynation87 - Jan 20, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    ott is taking over this game running over flyers like its nothing.

  2. blackandyellow71 - Jan 20, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Pittsburgh = Hockeytown.

  3. billsysabres - Jan 20, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Let’s go buffalo

  4. rich859 - Jan 20, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    The NHL may be back, but hockey never left.

  5. buff80 - Jan 20, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Nice win for the Sabres. Love seeing the flers 0-2

  6. mattmc20 - Jan 20, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Blackandyellow71, you become hockey town when you pass the wings 11 cups and 21 consecutive playoff appearances. Yea we the Wings down this year, but remember you only have Crosby, Malkin, Flurry and (used to have Staal) because you couldn’t win for so long so don’t throw that crap back at me and the Wings.

    • chicagobtech - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      I think Montreal and Toronto have a stronger claim to the title of “Hockeytown” than Detroit.

    • tcclark - Jan 21, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      As much as I hate to say it, Toronto is Hockeytown. When a team so consistently terrible is valued at 1 billion, it says how much people there love hockey. To put that in perspective, the Toronto Maple Leafs are worth more than the Red Wings and Canadiens Combined. In Fact, The Toronto Maple Leafs are worth more than the Flyers, Penguins, Devils, and islanders combined. That’s right. The Maple Leafs – the only team in hockey who hasn’t made the playoffs since the last lockout- are worth more than 4 of the 5 teams in arguably the best division in hockey COMBINED. The Maple Leafs make enough of a profit every year to be able to buy any one of the Sabres, Lightning, Panthers, Predators, Hurricanes, Islanders, Blue Jackets, Coyotes, or Blues in TWO YEARS. A team that makes that kind of money in one year from it’s fans is definitely livin’ in Hockeytown

  7. lallin66fan - Jan 20, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Looks like those Just Drop It guys plan did not work after all…

  8. cl6198 - Jan 20, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Fact: Buffalo loves hockey

  9. sportsfan69 - Jan 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Now let’s get the NHL Gamecenter to work properly. I’m very disappointed with the NHL technology staff. A great opportunity has has been lost. Is the league going to correct it?

    • ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 20, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      @sportsfan
      Good shout!

      • sportsfan69 - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        Thanks! I was pissed yesterday with the NHL Informational Technology Staff. Unbelievable.

      • ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:53 PM

        Tell me about it ;)

  10. stakex - Jan 20, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Of course the ratings were high. All those boycott morons were all blowing hot air. If you are a hockey fan, you were going to watch the minute the season started… no matter what you might have said. People just don’t have principles anymore for things like boycotts.

    • pone27 - Jan 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      Pretty sure the majority of hockey fans (especially on here) said even though they are disgusted, pissed, and fed up with the owners and players antics, they were still going to watch hockey.

      Get over the talk and enjoy the sport. Stop being a hater and move on.

      #hockeyisback

  11. blackandyellow71 - Jan 20, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Mattmc20, 11 cups in 80 years. 7 of those came when there were 6 teams in the league. 4 since 1967 when the Pens and others joined. The Pens will get there 4th this year to match. Detroit was Hockeytown, now Pittsburgh is the Hockeytown.

  12. desertfan - Jan 20, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Flyers need LOU

  13. Jeff - Jan 20, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Chumps

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