No lockout hangover for the NHL
January 22, 2013
Apparently fans aren’t holding a grudge against the NHL.
Ratings for Saturday’s opening day, which came after a nearly four-month lockout, were the best for any non-outdoor regular-season games on NBC since it acquired rights to the league in 2006.
The two games averaged a 2.0 Nielsen household rating, bettering NBC’s regular-season average of 1.2 last season by 67 percent.
It marked the highest-rated regular-season hockey weekend, excluding the much-hyped annual Winter Classic game, on any broadcast network since 2002, when ABC posted a 2.3.
The strong numbers indicated that fans are willing to forgive the league for the labor stoppage that wiped out roughly 40 percent of this year’s schedule.
That marks quite a change from the 2005-’06 season, following the NHL’s previous lockout, which nixed an entire season. Fans were slow to come back, and in fact it took several years for hockey to recover in the TV ratings.
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