It’s not a surprise that the NHL All-Star Game took a backseat to the NFL Pro Bowl in terms of ratings last weekend. After all, the NFL dominates everything in the United States, from the Pro Bowl to the lead up to the Super Bowl.
Even so, the NHL gained ground on themselves this year all thanks to a move to broadcast television. According to NBC Sports Group, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game had 2.28 million viewers across both NBC and its digital platforms, with 2.262 million of those coming from NBC alone.
This year was the NHL’s first All-Star Game broadcast on national TV since 2004 when ABC held the rights. The straight viewership alone went up 42 percent from last year, and the overnight rating — which measures viewership that occurs on the same day of the original broadcast — reached 1.6, also the NHL’s highest All-Star rating since 2004.
Viewership hit a peak at 2.529 million while the Metropolitan Division and the Pacific Division clashed in the All-Star Tournament final. It’s not a surprise either that the league’s biggest markets for the game were Pittsburgh (6.1 rating) and Buffalo (5.3 rating).
The move back to broadcast clearly helped the NHL, even more so than last year’s success spurred in part by the John Scott effect that gave NBCSN their highest-ever All-Star ratings.