As part of a press release touting the NHL's growing media business across multiple platforms, the Nashville Predators were singled out for having the strongest year-to-year growth in local TV ratings throughout the league:
Eleven local Regional Sports Networks experienced double- and triple-digit growth, including:
- Nashville (+200 percent)
- Carolina (+125 percent)
- Florida (+100 percent)
- Tampa Bay (+71 percent)
- Philadelphia (+60 percent)
- Boston (+57 percent)
- Minnesota (+53 percent)
- San Jose (+44 percent)
- Buffalo (+26 percent)
- Edmonton (+21 percent)
- New York Rangers (+14 percent)
Specific figures are not cited here, and previously where local TV ratings have been discussed relative to the NHL, Nashville's results have not been included. It's fair to guess that the Preds are building off a relatively small base compared to the other markets, but up is up, so we won't look a gift horse in the mouth here.
UPDATE: As reader Matt0629 noted on Twitter, one possible explanation here is the additional viewers available in the Atlanta market, who are now getting to see some Preds games. A spokesperson from the Predators said that indeed this is "one of many factors" leading to the increased viewership, along with, for example, the buzz carrying over from last spring's playoff run. Either way, kudos go out to the business side of the team for their aggressive marketing efforts on that front. Pretty much as soon as the Thrashers' relocation to Winnipeg was announced, the Preds extended an appeal to the (literally) disenfranchised hockey fans in Atlanta.
After the jump you can read the NHL's press release...
NEW YORK (December 6, 2011) – During the first quarter of the regular season, the
National Hockey League (NHL) introduced a number of new initiatives, experienced
record consumption across digital, broadcast and retail platforms while introducing a
number of new initiatives and securing a number of agreements with new and existing
"We are continuing to offer new and enhanced ways for our fans to engage, consume
and interact with NHL hockey," said John Collins, NHL chief operating officer. "It is this
consistent emphasis on innovation and productive partnerships that has sustained the
growth and momentum the League has been experiencing over the past six years."
Fan Demand for Digital Content Continues to Grow
Regardless of outlet, NHL fans continue to demonstrate an increasing appetite for
everything NHL through digital platforms. This season’s digital highlights include:
• Through the first two months of the NHL season, Unique Visitors (UVs) to
NHL.com are up 17 percent over last season's record numbers; video starts have
increased 45 percent; page views are up 8 percent and articles read are up 27
• In November, monthly UVs were up 26 percent and video starts were up 44
• In November, UVs were up 33 percent in the U.S. and up 11 percent in Canada;
UV's from outside North America were up 42 percent – including a remarkable
increase in the Czech Republic (+255 percent).
• Through November, NHL Mobile web saw page views increase 93 percent yearover-
year with Canada up 73 percent, the U.S. up 39 percent and outside of
North America up 357 percent. Time spent on NHL mobile has increased by 83
• Total mobile page views account for 39 percent of total digital page views since
start of season.
NHL fans continue to flock to social media platforms to consume content and participate
in NHL conversations.
• Through November, the League experienced a 5.2 percent increase in its social
communities (Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.)
• Direct commerce orders driven by NHL social media properties were up 119
percent over last year.
NHL GameCenter LIVE
• As the League continues to serve fans’ demand through its premium streaming
service NHL GameCenter LIVE, subscriptions for this product are up 113
percent season-to-date compared to the same time period last year.
First Quarter Filled With TV Ratings Highlights
Eleven local Regional Sports Networks experienced double- and triple-digit growth,
• Nashville (+200 percent)
• Carolina (+125 percent)
• Florida (+100 percent)
• Tampa Bay (+71 percent)
• Philadelphia (+60 percent)
• Boston (+57 percent)
• Minnesota (+53 percent)
• San Jose (+44 percent)
• Buffalo (+26 percent)
• Edmonton (+21 percent)
• New York Rangers (+14 percent)
VERSUS opened its seventh year of NHL coverage with the most-watched regular
season game in the network's history (874,000 viewers, up 20 percent over last
the night the Bruins raised their first Stanley Cup banner in 39 years.
CBC's HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA attracted a record audience before the first
puck drop of the season, as its opening-night pre-game show on Thursday, Oct. 6,
drew nearly one million viewers (929,000) -- a 66% increase over last season. Then,
1.935 million Canadians watched the classic season-opening match-up between the
mark of 1.923 million.
In all, 16 million Canadians -- representing 47.7% of the total population, according to
Nielsen/BBM Canada -- watched all or part of a local or national NHL broadcast during
Opening Weekend (Thu-Sun).
NHL Merch Experiences Record-Breaking Sales for Opening of Holiday Season
Coming off another successful Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend with record
sales at the NHL Powered by Reebok Store in New York City and online at
Shop.NHL.com, merchandise sales online, in-arena and at retail locations have
increased 15 percent year-to-date. Highlights of this growth include:
• Sales at the NHL Powered By Reebok Store in New York were up 48 percent for
the opening holiday season compared with the three-day period last year and up
41 percent on Black Friday, Nov. 25
• On Dec. 3, the flagship store set a new one-day record in sales volume in its
four-year history. The Dec. 3-4 weekend also broke previous records for two-day
and weekend sales since the store's opening in October 2007. Overall, sales for
the month of November at the midtown destination increased 17 percent over
November of last year.
• Shop.NHL.com, operated by e-commerce provider Fanatics, generated 23
percent more sales than last year during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday
• Cyber Monday, Nov. 28, was the top-selling day in Shop.NHL.com history -- up
61 percent from last year and besting the previous one-day sales record set after
the Boston Bruins’ Game 7 victory to capture the 2011 Stanley Cup.
NHL Media Assets Secure New Marquee Talent
NHL Network and NHL.com have added several personalities to their rosters of talent
since the start of the season, including:
• Barry Melrose, ESPN’s signature hockey voice for 18 years, is now serving as
an NHL Network analyst at marquee League events, including the Bridgestone
NHL Winter Classic, NHL All-Star, the Stanley Cup Final, NHL Awards and the
NHL Entry Draft. Melrose is also contributing a blog – Melrose Minute – on
• Kathryn Tappen, a former studio host at the New England Sports Network
(NESN), joined the NHL Network as a host of its signature show: NHL On the
Fly. She also will co-host the network’s coverage at major NHL events.
• Jeremy Roenick, who played 18 seasons in the NHL and was inducted into the
U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010, has created the World According to JR blog
for NHL.com, lending his outspoken and candid voice to what is happening
around the League.
• Melrose, Tappen and Roenick join returning contributor Kevin Weekes, the
former NHL goaltender and current NHL On the Fly analyst, who is now featured
four days a week on NHL.com with video and written entries with his Weekes on
the Web column.
Corporate Partners Continue to Align with the NHL
In the past two months, four significant strategic corporate partnerships either were
renewed or added to the NHL family:
• Discover renewed a multi-year sponsorship agreement as an Official Partner of
the NHL® in the U.S. As part of this agreement, Discover secured the title
sponsorship of the inaugural NHL on NBC broadcast on Thanksgiving Friday,
known as the 2011 Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown™. Discover also
participated in a co-branded float titled "Frozen Fall Fun" that made its debut in
this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, promoting the Thanksgiving
• Paramount Pictures entered into a strategic marketing partnership in support of
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL, the action-packed spy
adventure starring Tom Cruise. As part of this partnership, the NHL, along with
North American broadcast partners NBC, VERSUS, TSN, TSN2 and NHL
Network, are promoting the film across its platforms, integrating the teamwork
narrative central to the "Mission: Impossible" series into game broadcasts and
• Tim Hortons, one of North America’s largest quick-service restaurant chains,
became the title sponsor of this season’s NHL All-Star Game -- deepening the
company’s multi-year partnership as the Official Quick Service Coffee, Donut and
Breakfast Restaurant of the NHL in Canada.
• Visa renewed as a proud sponsor of the NHL and NHLPA in Canada for an
additional three years, continuing the designation of Visa as the Official Payment
Card of the NHLPA and NHL in Canada.
NHL Original Productions
The NHL announced the creation of NHL Original Productions, an initiative that joins
forces with renowned executive producer Ross Greenburg, through Ross Greenburg
Productions, to create original, long- and short-form hockey programming for the
League's media assets and NBC Sports beginning this season.
NHL Broadens International Broadcast Distribution
With more than 25 percent of its players hailing from outside of North America, the NHL
enjoys a significant demand from fans around the world. To serve these fans a number
of distribution agreements were reached this season with international broadcasters
throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Most notable was the landmark
distribution partnership between the NHL and MTG to provide live coverage of all 1,230
regular-season games and every Stanley Cup® Playoffs game throughout the Nordic
region, including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. For a complete listing of
international broadcast partners, click here.
NHL Launches Websites in Seven Different Languages
As part of a larger, cross-media strategy to better activate International fans of the NHL,
the League has created the most relevant, country-specific NHL media experience for
the Web by introducing NHL websites in Czech, Finnish, German, Russian, Slovak and
Swedish at the start 2011-12 season. The League also launched an official website
published in French (LNH.com) to serve the NHL’s passionate Francophone fanbase as
a complement to the English-language NHL.com.
These innovations reflect the fact that more than 20 percent of the overall digital
audience for NHL hockey comes from countries outside of North America, with six
nations – Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden and Russia –
representing 50 percent of the International digital audience. Each of these six countries
experienced double- or triple-digit year-over-year growth for video starts on NHL.com
last year, demonstrating the opportunity for native-language NHL Web sites.
What They’re Saying About the NHL
• [The NHL is in] "an innovative new era" Sports Illustrated.com, 11/23/11
• "The National Hockey League has never been on stronger ice in the United
States." Variety , 10/7/11
• "For Marketers, Media, Fans, NHL Brand Is Hot On Ice." Big Lead Sports,