Thursday, May 27, 2004


Stanley Cup Finals - Game 1 A Ratings bonanza...or not.

Are the Calgary Flames Canada�s team? Judging by the TV ratings, they certainly are.

CBC reports that over 3 million tuned in for Game 1 of the Finals, which means at least 1 in every 10 people in Canada was watching the game! This is the 2nd highest viewership since the Canucks/Ranger$ Game 7 finale in 1994 (Oh, the painful memories).

In the USoA, however, Game 1 was met with the usual collective yawn of apathy, reports

Game 1 was watched by an average of 1,013,000 people and had a rating of 1.1. Of the 34 Stanley Cup finals game the network has televised since 1990, only Game 2 of last year's series between New Jersey and Anaheim had a rating as low.

Like most Canadians, I couldn�t care less that the US ratings are lower than Dukes of Hazzard reruns. This is just more proof that hockey is not much more than a �niche� sport in most markets. It�s a shame that Americans just can�t get into the game, but hockey is not part of their culture is most places outside of Minnesota, New England, or Michigan.

3 times as many people in Canada watched the game than in the US, and yet Quebec City, Hamilton, and Winnipeg don�t have NHL teams?

If Bettman and the owners ever get the salary �certainty� that they want (and they probably won�t), then they have no real excuse not to move some failing teams back to Canada (or Hartford), since the markets are definitely good and eager enough to support an NHL team.

Speaking of Bettman� Note to Gary: Please, shut up!

You have two exciting teams playing in the most exciting Stanley Cup finals in years, and yet you choose to harp and whine about the CBA negotiations and the doom and gloom of a lockout. You claimed you wouldn�t use the finals are a sounding board for your rhetoric, but that went all out the window in about 10 minutes.

Instead of taking away from the potential goodwill from marketing the biggest event in your sport, you choose to cast a dark cloud over the game and miss out on a great opportunity. You will have more than enough time during the off-season to cry about your CBA issues.

It�s too bad Gary Bettman is more like Bud Selig, and less like Paul Tagliabue or David Stern. Anti-Marketing is not going to help sell the sport in the USoA.

I am not really taking sides in these negotiations, but Bettman�s constant bleating is almost enough to turn this �blog into a pro-NHLPA platform.

PS: Tell your referees to call obstruction. It�s not hard to do.

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