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What lockout? Business thriving, says NHL

Mar 8, 2013, 4:27 PM EDT

United Center Getty Images

The NHL is celebrating the halfway mark of the 2013 lockout-shortened season today. And yes, celebrating is an appropriate word.

Following is courtesy the NHL’s PR department:

The excitement generated by the League’s return is reflected in strong business metrics. Indicators of fan engagement — at the rink, on television and online — are up across the board:

In-Arena
- Overall, NHL teams are playing to 96.7% capacity, with a per-game average of 17,662 (up 3.6% over 2011-12). The average figure during February (17,625) was the highest recorded for that calendar month in League history.

National Broadcasts (all ratings numbers compared to last year’s full regular season figures)
- NBC network broadcasts are +29% and NBC Sports Network broadcasts are +23% over 2011-12;
- CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Prime East broadcasts are +16% and Prime West are +12% over 2011-2012;
- TSN Wednesday Night exclusive is +30% and TSN2 broadcasts are +26% over 2011-12;
- NHL on RDS broadcasts are +16% over 2011-12.

Regional Broadcasts
From coast to coast. Regional Sports Networks repeatedly have broken ratings records for their live broadcasts of NHL games this season:
- 28 of the 29* measured clubs are up or even over 2011-12;
- 25 of the 29* measured clubs are showing double/triple digit increases over 2011-12.
* TSN Jets Regional no longer measured by Nielsen Online

Now, some of the above may be attributed to the pent-up demand the lockout created. And it’s still going to be interesting to see what season-ticket renewal rates look like this offseason.

But consider: it’s only been a couple of months since the lockout ended. Clearly, a lot of people have been able to put the work stoppage in the rear-view mirror. And once the playoffs start, all that ridiculousness is going to be an even more distant memory.

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