Maybe its the writers’ strike. Maybe its the Cubs’ post-season run. Maybe its the Blackhawks’ resurgence. Maybe its the Celtics and Lakers making noise in the NBA playoff race. Maybe its the hugely successful NFL post-season. Whatever it is, sports is gaining viewers from a year ago, and all sports are benefiting.
Even a Cubs exibition game from nine days ago set a spring-training record for Comcast SportsNet Chicago on March 1 – a 2.0 rating, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The NBA and the NHL have seen rating gains from a year ago, with the NBA up 9 percent in households, with ESPN and TNT also showing gains in households and in male demos. The NHL is up 26 percent in total viewers on NBC and up 30 percent on Versus, to a point where hockey is even outdrawing the numbers it had on ESPN, despite limited distribution.
This comes as viewers sought seeking alternatives to reruns and reality shows on the networks, impacted by the recently concluded writers’ strike.