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Ratings for finals are mighty weak

Ducks' clinching victory plays well locally, but overall NHL ratings are near the bottom.

June 08, 2007|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman liked what he saw and heard at the Honda Center on Wednesday night, as the crowd roared its approval toward the end of the home team's 6-2 Stanley Cup-clinching victory.

"This is just terrific," he said just before heading down from a suite to the ice to present the Cup to Ducks captain and playoffs MVP Scott Niedermayer.

Now, if only the crowd reaction could translate to better television ratings.

Comparatively speaking, Wednesday night's Game 5 did pretty well in Los Angeles. It got a 6.0 rating, a 12 share and an average viewing audience of 496,000. That's double the 3.0/5 and 218,000 viewers for the Dodgers' important National League West matchup against San Diego on Channel 9 that night, and the Dodgers and Padres had a better start time.

By the time most commuters got home, the Ducks and Ottawa Senators were in the third period. That's when the rating peaked at a 10.4.

The problem is the national numbers. Game 5 got only a 1.8/3, down 28% from a 2.5/4 for Game 5 of the finals last year between Carolina and Edmonton. Wednesday night's game averaged 2.9 million viewers and the rating peaked at a 2.1 in the third period.

For the three games NBC televised during the finals, it averaged a 1.6/3, down 20% from a 2.0/4 for the same three games last year.

The first game of this year's finals on NBC -- Game 3 last Saturday -- got only a 1.1 national rating with an average viewing audience of 1.6 million. According to Sports Business Daily, that resulted in NBC's lowest-rated night in its history.

A movie on the Sci-Fi Channel, "Meltdown: Days Destruct," got a 1.2 rating.

NBC's previous combined prime-time low was a 1.3 on July 23, 2005, when a repeat of "West Wing" got only a 1.1.

The first two games of the finals were televised by Versus, and its lack of distribution no doubt hurt the NBC telecasts. Game 1 on Versus got a 0.5 national rating with an average audience of 769,000 and Game 2 a 0.4 with 576,000 viewers.

Game 1 ranked 58th among all programs that night and Game 2 ranked 78th. Among the programs beating Game 1 was the Food Network's "Build a Better Burger," which attracted 807,000 viewers.

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larry.stewart@latimes.com

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