Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reading the Ratings

Not as popular as you may think
Two small points from the media and advertising newsletters that I read...

1) NFL Conference Championship ratings down double digits

Well, sure. Atlanta vs. San Francisco is wildly less appealing than New York vs. San Francisco, and having the same Baltimore vs. New England battle every year gets tedious. But there's only so much Atlanta hate that you can trot out there to explain so many fewer viewers. Rather, I wonder about the following factors.

a) A terrible year for the real big market teams

Chicago, both New York teams, Philadelphia -- these, you all knew about as non-playoff teams in major media areas. But on top of that was Pittsburgh, a true national team, not making it, along with Dallas. Green Bay missing out on the conference final was also an issue, since that's also the Pittsburgh problem. So, with the exception of a New England team that is widely loathed outside of the media, the NFL was out of what might be the top six teams, not just in markets, but national numbers.

b) When you remove the violence, you will remove some fans

No one that I know has stopped watching the games from things like helmet to helmet 15 yard flags or ticky-tack roughing the passer calls, and the league got what it wanted -- a season filled with mostly healthy QBs and WRs, with a limited number of brutal concussions.

But I don't know very many casual fans.

And from the scab refs to the Saints vendetta to the DPIs to the Thursday night games weakening the 4pm Sunday slate... well, at some point, that has to add up to weaker casual fan interest, doesn't it?

2) The NHL Opening Weekend ratings were surprisingly good

And by good, I mean freaky good: the best in 11 years, and the best opening game ratings for NBC since they began airing the league in 2006. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Buffalo and Boston were all huge, with the first three having the best numbers ever in their market. (Why? Because all three of those cities had exceptionally awful NFL years, and have been starving for a game ever since. Even the Sixer and Bulls fans are down, due to the Derrick Rose and Andrew Bynum injuries. Anyway, moving on.)

Here's the dirty little secret of the 82-game NHL regular season: it does not need to exist, and no one outside of the inner circle of the cult would mind if the season didn't consist of 100% playoffs. (How would this be manifested? Best of seven series from teams drawn at random, with every franchise invited. Yes, you'd potentially have a 4-game season for half of the teams in the league, but if you need more than four games a year from the New York Islanders, you may be employed by the New York Islanders.)

So a 2/3rds season doesn't really bother anyone. Nor does it create the problems that the 2011-12 NBA short season created, since NHL games don't have the same Art/Competition issues that NBA teams have.

All it did was take a third of the money that was going to be spent on regular season tickets, and pissed off people who can't be permanently pissed off. As the ratings show...

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule