MSG Networks Open 2013 NHL Season with Best Ratings in a Generation

MSG, MSG+ Off to Quick Starts with Rangers, Islanders

MSG Networks skated to its best regular-season ratings in more than a decade with its coverage of the 2013 NHL openers for the New York Rangers and New York Islanders.

MSG’s telecast of the Rangers-Boston Bruins on Jan. 19 averaged a 2.88 household rating in the New York DMA, according to Nielsen data. The telecast was MSG’s best with the Broadway Blueshirts since April 20, 1995, when the Rangers-Hartford Whalers game scored a 2.92 rating. Saturday night’s game was the fourth-best regular season contest since the 1989-90 season when the RSN began tracking household ratings.

The contest was also the second-highest rated season opener ever, trailing only the 3.66 mark for the Rangers-Buffalo Sabres game on Jan. 20, 1995, which was also the first matchup of that lockout-shortened season and the first home game after the Rangers won the 1993-94 Stanley Cup.

The MSG+ telecast of the Islanders-New Jersey Devils game on Saturday night garnered a 1.0 household rating, making it the second-highest rated regular-season Islanders game on the network ever, going back to the 1991-92 season, when the service’s predecessor started tracking household ratings. The only Islanders game on MSG+ to generate a higher regular-season rating was the March 25, 2002 matchup with the Rangers, which delivered a 1.99 rating in the Big Apple environs.

Through two games of the 2013 season, the average household rating for Rangers telecasts on MSG and Islanders telecasts on MSG+ were up significantly compared to the first two games of the 2011-12 season – the Rangers scored a 2.18  versus a 0.61, while the Islanders notched a 0.79 compared with a 0.20 mark