Regionals Sports Nets Score With NHL Action

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Regional sports networks and local telecasters covering the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings have netted the strongest Nielsen in the early part of the National Hockey League season.

Through early December, Madison Square Garden Network has averaged an 8.9 rating in the Buffalo DMA with Sabres games, a 14% improvement over its 2007-08 season average, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

Fox Sports Pittsburgh has averaged a 5.7 household rating, up 21%, in the Iron City with its presentations of Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Penguins, last season’s Stanley Cup finalists. Meanwhile, the defending champion Red Wings have drawn a 3.3 household rating for Fox Sports Detroit in the Motor City.

The top NHL gainers by percentage are all Comcast-owned regional sports networks. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic is scoring alongside Washington Capitals star Alex Olvechkin, recording a 140% advance to a 1.2 rating in the Washington D.C. DMA.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which is televising all Blackhawks games for the first time, was ahead 71%, also to a 1.2 mark.

Similarly, the San Jose Sharks, with the league’s best record, have averaged a 1.2 for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, scoring a 50% jump this season.

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