Hockey playoffs scores big ratings on radio

Steve Kowch blog photoFrom where I sit On The Kowch, it was a great move by Astral Research to do a study on how hockey game broadcasts on radio has an impact on ratings – especially when the home team makes the playoffs. Three of the five PPM markets had teams in the playoffs that began during the 13-week Spring PPM Ratings (February 25 – May 26).

The study also shows the impact of the NHL Lockout on sports radio ratings and provides a sample of ratings for regular season games.  Astral Research released the study in its latest webinar following the June 6th publication by BBM Canada of the PPM Rating survey results for the Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver markets.

logo-astral_whitebg-smlThe Astral Research webinar was hosted by Alicia Olson-Keating, General Manager Research and Marketing Services, Astral Media and Mike Mohammed, Research and Marketing Manager for the Astral Radio Team.

“Radio saw significant increases in tuning market share performance of radio stations that aired hockey games during this year’s exciting season,” says Alicia Olson-Keating. In the slide below you can see what the ratings for sports radio stations were during the NHL Lockout (gray), Regular Season (blue) and the Playoffs (red).

Look at the ratings chart for Game Seven of the Toronto/Boston game. You can see how many people were listening in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Overtime periods. Compare the ratings during the Lockout (black line), a Regular Season game (blue line) and Game 7 (red).

I’m not your average hockey fan, in fact I hardly ever listen to hockey on the radio. But for Game 7 while I was in the car I tuned in to hear how the Leafs were doing in overtime. I obviously wasn’t alone. Look at the spike in tuning when the game went into overtime.  You can see what happens to the ratings when Boston scores in sudden death overtime – 40,000 people were listening when Boston scored. The next minute the chart shows only 8,000 people were still listening to the radio station carrying the game. Guess I wasn’t the only one who shut the radio after Boston scored the winning goal. It’s amazing how PPM technology lets you track minute by minute how many people are listening.

From where I sit On The Kowch, I can’t say I was surprised with the findings of the study. I was programming CFRB the last time the Leafs made it to the playoffs. Our ratings dropped 50 per cent starting at 6pm on game night. It was our worst ever evening ratings. On May 14th, I predicted on The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum (Toronto’s radio online chatroom) that 1050AM would probably have its best ratings since flipping to TSN Radio Sports.

Steve Kowch was program director of two of Canada’s largest newstalk radio stations for 14 years

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