More Games and Teams on NHLN, But Less Hockey on Broadcast NBC

There are 17 games scheduled on NBC this year. Last year 20 of NBC's 23 games were after January 18th, so there is a little less hockey on national broadcast television this season. But there will be more broadcasts than had been scheduled for an 82-game season (only 14 games, 12 of them after January 18th).

As for NBCSN, the numbers are similar to last year, taking into account the shortened season -- 59 games this year vs. 99 last year, so 60% percent of the televised games in a 48/82=59% schedule. Unlike its parent channel, NBCSN is showing more hockey after January 18th this year - 59 games vs. 53 in 2011-2012. NBCSN is also committing to more hockey now than it had for the full 2012-13 season; the network had only scheduled 46 games after January 18th in a full-season total of 89.

A note that this is apples to apples in that I am comparing schedules. It's likely that the actual numbers for last year were different, presumably with additional games.

The best news for hockey fans is that NHLN is showing as many games (78) this shortened season as it did in last year's full season. (I couldn't find last summer's NHLN schedule for a full 2012-2013 season to compare those figures).

In addition to showing more games overall, a quick look reveals that there will be a lot more national exposure on the NHL Network for the "southern" teams and teams with poor attendance.

There are nine teams that filled less than 88% of their seats last year (NJ, FL, ANA, COL, CAR, NYI, CBJ, DAL, PHX). There are nine southern/expansion teams (remove NJ, NYI and CO and add SJ, TB, and NSH). Each list comprises 30% of the league's franchises.

In 2011-2012, only 12.3% of the slots on NHLN were filled by attendance laggards , and only 13.6% by southern teams. In the original schedule for this year the numbers were 14.1% for both lists. But in the 48-game schedule the numbers are 26.3% and 23.7%. I don't know if this is an effort to stimulate interest in those markets, or a commitment to simply show more games (I didn't save total televised game figures from the earlier schedules), but this is an encouraging development if you believe that increased television exposure can help the weaker teams.

However, NHLN is less well-known than NBCSN (and I believe is more likely to be part of a premium package), and the numbers at NBCSN don't tell the same story. The attendance laggards do have a higher representation than in the full schedule for this year (19.5% vs. 15.9%) but not much different from the 18.8% figure from last year. Southern/expansion teams are going to be on the network less (13.6% vs. 21.4% from last year, and 16.8% in the full-season schedule for this year).

I didn't save team-by-team figures from last year, but the Devils are on a lot more this year - nine games on NBCSN and seven on NHLN. CAR will be on NHLN eight times but not on NBCSN at all. I think much of the change in the numbers between years on NBCSN is because of these two teams.

And, of course on NBC it's still the old reliables. Three of the 34 slots are filled by attendance laggards (NJ 2; COL 1) and only one of the 34 by a southern team (SJ).

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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