There were plenty of talking points in the lead-up to Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game, including the 3-on-3 format and John Scott’s inclusion/omission/inclusion, and that appears to have translated into ratings. NBC announced Monday that the game pulled in a 1.17 overnight rating, the best in the history of all-star games on NBCSN (and predecessors OLN/Versus):

This was a big change for the NHL, as the 2015 edition particularly struggled in the ratings and hit a six-year low in viewership (but with only three games played during that span). Whether that was about the 3-on-3 format or the league’s reluctant embrace of Scott (who won the game’s MVP award, delivered its funniest moment with a takedown of Jeremy Roenick, and also outshone the rest of the all-stars at media day and in merchandise sales), the end result is certainly good for both the NHL and for NBC.

However, this all needs to be kept in perspective. While the 1.17 overnight rating is the best one for NBCSN (and predecessors OLN and Versus), it’s nowhere near what the game used to draw on ABC (2.7 million viewers in 2004, the final year there). Yes, that’s broadcast versus cable, but it’s notable that NBC didn’t have much going on on their broadcast network Sunday (the European figure skating championships, local programming and the nightly news), so the decision to keep the ASG on NBCSN suggests either a desire to promote that network, a belief there’s limited general interest in the game, or both.

Beyond that, this game went up against the NFL’s Pro Bowl, which drew a 5.0 overnight rating. That’s likely the lowest ever for the Pro Bowl, and it’s still over three times what the best-ever NHL ASG on NBCSN pulled in. All-Star games in MLB and the NBA also pull in way more ratings than the NHL does. So, while this is a good rating by NHL ASG standards (especially recently), and a good rating by NBC/NBCSN hockey broadcast standards (this beats the 1.0 or 1.1 regularly pulled in by the Black Friday game, and is miles ahead of typical Wednesday night broadcasts), it’s not huge in the grand scheme of things. We’ll also have to see if this was all about the novelty of Scott and/or the new 3-on-3 format; if those played a significant role, ratings could go right back down again if next year’s game doesn’t have similarly-intriguing storylines.

[Puck Daddy]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.

Comments are closed.