Friday, May 17, 2013

Bruins ratings up 41 percent

By Zachary Baru

In a report released by SportsBusiness Journal, the Bruins television ratings have increased 41 percent from last season, finishing with the third-highest television rating in the National Hockey League.  The Bruins' average rating was a 6.60, falling short of only Pittsburgh and Buffalo. 

Pittsburgh finished with a league-leading rating of 12.56, while Buffalo ended the season with a 9.46 rating.

While the Bruins' 41 percent increase was impressive, it was not even in the top 5 for rating increases from the 2011-2012 season.  The New York Islanders were victors in that category, as their on-ice performance this season lead to a 133.3 percent change.

The Bruins also finished in the top 5 in average audience size, good for second in the league with an average of 156,000 households.  Boston, the nation's seventh largest media market, fell behind only Chicago, the nation's third largest market.

What does all of this say?  Well it is something we already knew - Bruins fans are supporting their team the way passionate fans should support a successful team in a traditional hockey market.  Ratings are up, merchandise sales are strong, and tickets continue to sell out every game at high prices.  Also noteworthy, is that the secondary market ticket sales (StubHub) are strong as well, with playoff tickets currently starting at $165 per seat.

Times are good for the Bruins.  Think back to how this differs from the pre-2007 teams, when season tickets dipped below 5,000, and this is a classic example of how improved on-ice performance can turn around a franchise.

Source: SportsBusiness Journal, Nielsen

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bruins win Wednesday night ratings battle

By Zachary Baru

As mentioned by Mike Felger on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Felger & Massarotti" show, the Wednesday night ratings battle between Boston sports teams was not even close.  In a flip from ten years ago, the Bruins came out as the clear winner, topping both the Celtics and Red Sox in a night full of New England sports. 

The Bruins received a rating of 9.5, much higher than that of the Celtics, who had a 5.5 rating.  The Red Sox, who were televised on NESNplus (not sure why NESN feels the need to butcher the capitalization) received a rating of 4.5.

If there is any doubt of the passion fans have for the Bruins in Boston, none should remain after reading Wednesday's ratings.  Playoff hockey is a much different breed than regular season hockey, a more severe change than arguably any other sport.  And this notion proves true on Wednesday night, as Boston sports fans came out in full-swing to show their love for Bruins hockey.

While NESN has been demoting the end of the Bruins' regular season to NESNplus coverage during simultaneous games with the Red Sox, this trend will stop, as NESN will again have similar coverage of both teams on Saturday.

For over a decade, it was not hard to figure out the order of popularity between Boston sports franchises.  But since the Bruins' championship season in 2011, the landscape has changed drastically, leaving popularity up for debate.  Here is to another week of amazing competition - off the field that is, and in the ratings.

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at