While national TV ratings for the NHL season can and should be celebrated, ratings for regional sports networks appear to be a cause for concern. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported Monday that RSNs across the league were down 23% compared to last year.
The 2020-21 season was shortened to 56 games because of the COVID pandemic.
Only four teams with available data (the Kings, Wild, Panthers, and Red Wings) saw ratings growth in 2021-22. Numbers for Carolina, Nashville and the Canadian teams were unavailable.
Arizona saw the biggest dip year over year. Bally Sports Arizona was down 58% compared to last year. Part of it is understandable. The Coyotes were one of the worst teams in the league.
Viewership for the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning was down 20%. The average rating for games on Bally Sports Sun was 1.49, good enough for 10th of the teams on the list.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had an average rating of 5.43 on AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh this season, which topped the league, but viewership was still down 30% versus last season.
The Seattle Kraken had an average rating of 0.96 for their inaugural season on Root Sports.
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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”
Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”
McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.
“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”
WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.