Every season, around this time, every commentator on TV and radio starts singing the praises of how wonderful the NHL playoffs are and how boring the NBA playoffs are. Oh, the Stanley is the toughest trophy to win. And the players…well the players are all about team and not ‘me’. Wow, these hockey guys are so tough, they want it sooo bad. Hockey playoffs are simply the best sports product of all.
So why doesn’t anyone watch them?
Quickly, name one player from each of the four teams left in the NHL playoffs……..
Now name one player from each of the four teams left in the NBA playoffs……..
That’s what I thought.
Listed below are the average rating for the Stanley Cup finals since 2006 (their move to NBC from ESPN):
2012-2.1 (LA vs NJ)
2007-1.38 (Anaheim vs Ottawa)
2006-2.0 (Carolina vs Edmonton)
To give you some context, listed below are the NBA Finals ratings:
2007-6.4 (SA vs Cle)
(To add even more misery, the 2016 Super Bowl rating was 49)
In other words, the NHL ratings suck.
To be fair, some of this is due to the fact some of these games are hidden on NBC Sports. Do you know what channel that is? Yeah, I thought so.
But why would such a ‘great’ product be buried in the catacombs on cable TV? Why wouldn’t ESPN pay top dollar for this, instead of letting it go without a fight?
You still may cry ‘unfair’ and say these are all US ratings. What about Canada?
Not having a team from Canada in the playoffs can do that, but if the game was sooooo great, I would think you would watch anyway. How many non-Bronco/Panther fans watched the Super Bowl?
OK, fine. Comparing anything to the behemoth which is the NFL is unfair. But I am tired of the narrative that this is such a great time of year due to the NHL playoffs.
Popularity is not the only measure of how great something is, but there is no question we spend our time on things we like and care about. The NHL is not one of those things. So to everyone out there, stop ripping on the NBA and praising the NHL, unless you are one of the 3% of households that will actually tune in the Stanley Cup finals.