Flyers local television ratings on CSN Philly have gained 23 percent in the last year, according to Sports Business Journal, one of the top-five gains in all the NHL. At face value, that sounds great — more people are watching the Flyers! Cool!
But that narrative is probably a little misleading. In reality, the numbers appear represent people coming back to the Flyers, not an indication of new interest in the team.
SBJ puts this list out every year around the NHL All-Star Game, and the timing is probably what’s led to the big increase in Flyers ratings. SBJ’s methodology compares ratings year-over-year at the midseason point. Here’s the list from 2016, which was released on February 15. For about a year prior to that, the team had been nearly unwatchable.
In the last three months of the 2014-15 season, the Flyers were the definition of mediocre, going 11-9-11. That led to a spring without playoff hockey, the firing of Craig Berube and the hiring of Dave Hakstol. But the 2015-16 season didn’t start much better. As of mid-February 2016, when SBJ’s ratings numbers were released a year ago, the Flyers were second-worst in the Metropolitan Division with a 24-21-10 record.
Ratings tanked, and you can’t blame anybody for not wanting to watch that product.
Consider the immediate rebound, however. After February 15, the Flyers went on a tear, going 17-6-4 to close the season. It was the most exciting thing in Philadelphia sports last spring, it led to a great playoff series with the Washington Capitals, and ... it’s probably the main reason SBJ reports a 23 percent gain in Flyers ratings over this time last year.
Couple that with a 10 game win streak in the latter half of the year, and it’s no wonder why people came back to watching the Flyers over the course of the last 12 months. Now, if only the team would give them a reason to stay ...