NHL Playoff Ratings Plummet 20%, but Why?

According to Numeris research, total playoff ratings were down 20% in 2015. This is despite the fact five Canadian teams made the playoffs this year, with two advancing to the second round.

Rogers, in the first year of their monster 12-year, $5.2 billion dollar deal, predicted a 20% increase this season. What happened that caused a big decline instead?

Here are a few possibilities. Let me know in the comments why you think NHL playoff viewership is down.

Chicago Fatigue
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the Chicago Black Hawks winning. Sure, they're a great team, but it's a little like watching a re-run. Personally, I'm bored by it all.

No Leafs
Once again, the NHL playoffs was Leafs-less. Of course, they were Leafs-less last season as well, so it shouldn't have caused a year-over-year decline. Regardless, if the Leafs were in the playoffs, you know ratings would have soared. No team in the country attracts as many eyeballs.

The Jays Were Hot
While the Stanley Cup final was taking place, the Jays were winning 11 in a row, many in exciting fashion. Rogers scored some big numbers for Jays games, and you know it likely cannibalized their hockey numbers.

People Don't Like Rogers's Coverage
I'm not sure about this one, because the game is the game is the game. I sincerely believe most hockey fans just want an HD feed of the game, which Rogers provides. Still, it's possible some of the changes Rogers has made are not sitting well with viewers, causing many to tune out.

There are four possible reasons for the 20% drop. Why do you think ratings are down?

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Comments (24 - click here to join in!)


I am a big hockey fan and always have. But I just found myself tuned out by mid-May this season. Being a Red Wings fan my attention dropped after their early exit, but I am a hockey fan as well and always follow no matter what happens with my team. However this year I just found it boring, uninspiring, too many days between games, and it just seemed to drag on with nothing to really draw me in. The playoffs just lacked excitement his year. I hope this isn't a new normal as the league balances out, the talent gets spread evenly, and new caps strangle teams from building an exciting powerhouse team.

June 18, 2015 @ 10:58 AM


As a lifelong die hard leafs fan, I checked out from hockey around mid-season. I finally had enough, and could not watch any more. With leafs hockey gone, I did not check back in for the playoffs. I did watch part of the final series, but not much.
People don't like Rogers coverage - this can be restated by simply saying People don't like Rogers.
I'll tune back into hockey someday (I always do), but I will wait until they fix their product.

June 18, 2015 @ 11:09 AM


A 20% drop is huge. In previous years they've had pretty much the same teams competing for the cup (Boston, LA & Chicago) so I don't think the reason that people were tired of the Hawks is valid. The Leafs haven't played in May since 2004 (maybe earlier) so its not the lack of Leaf content. There's always optimism for the Jays in April & May so its not that either.

That only leaves the only valid reason for the drop to the broadcaster of SC playoffs - and that would be Rogers. I know people keep beating this dead horse - that dead horse being Strombo for his brutal job as host but when this many people complain about it, you know there's something to it.

I don't just blame Strombo - Cox, Stock and even guys like Kypreos and Friedman aren't enough to make you watch the intermission. The man who has to take the blame for this disaster is Scott Moore but then again, this guy is very connected and likely wont be blamed. Good luck Guy!

June 18, 2015 @ 11:14 AM

Jason from Sudbury

Afternoon games...they suck. Both the conference finals started on the May long weekend. On the Saturday I think the game started at noon, while Sunday it was 2 or 3. Keep in mind the weather was nice that weekend too so who wants to sit inside and watch hockey while they could be outside in the sun. I know I watched both games but I'm a diehard hockey fan. I am not a fan of afternoon playoff games though.

Re: People Don't Like Rogers's Coverage
I think this is mostly just people not liking change. Whether its people bitching about Strombo, or the guys calling the game, whatever it is, people will find a reason to complain. This only Rogers's first year, so it will only get better.

June 18, 2015 @ 11:50 AM

Alison in Ottawa

It felt like there were fewer Saturday night games, people love their Hockey on Saturday nights...but I'm not sure how that would bear out statistically over last year. I really like Strombo, I think he is doing a great job. Maybe they could use Ron MacLean more?

June 18, 2015 @ 1:08 PM

Nigel Trousershrapnel

If your NHL Center Ice package cost you $180 and you have 100,000 subscriptions nationwide you're at $1.8 million. If however they charge $90 and they can have 200,000 subscriptions nationwide you're also able to collect $1.8 million. Twice the viewership means more people are watching your overpriced commercials (theoretically). Double the exposure. 300,000 subscriptions at $60 still brings in $1.8 million and higher commercial revenue. Triple the exposure.

Pretty simple math. I'd buy in at $60, maybe even $90, but $180 is out of the range for most casual hockey fans. When the giant intellects at Rogers, Bell and the NHL understand this simple premise, they will understand that growing the market comes with some short term costs that will eventually achieve increased profits in the long term. That being said, short term profitability has replaced long term sustainability and Rogers will continue to lose viewers as a result. Can't cure stupid.

June 18, 2015 @ 1:10 PM


For me it was the Rogers coverage. I really don't like it. One year down.....eleven to go.

June 18, 2015 @ 1:22 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm not going to defend the Rogers coverage. They've done a number of things I don't like. Heck, I'm still pissed they fired the guy who made those amazing montages that open the coverage. Those were stellar.

But Strombo's not bad at all, he's just not Ron MacLean. And Don Cherry is still Don Cherry. And the games are being called by Jim Hughson, Bob Cole and others we heard last year when CBC produced the games. Most of the faces we see are the same faces we saw on CBC.

Is it the glitzy set that turns us off? Is it just that we all hate Rogers for other reasons?

I don't believe the changes Rogers made are sufficient to get people to stop watching NHL playoff games.

June 18, 2015 @ 1:33 PM


I find the whole production annoying. A lot of the Sporstnet people are annoying. They all look awkward on that new set. To me it has been a huge step down from CBC and TSN coverage. It seems amateurish and they all seem to be trying way too hard to be cool. Strombo is not the right person to host this, in my opinion.

For me, the whole thing turned me off. I tune in and out. Maybe it has something to do with Rogers in general, I am not entirely sure,

June 18, 2015 @ 3:30 PM


Hector sums it up well - especially with " It seems amateurish and they all seem to be trying way too hard to be cool." Couldn't agree more.

I also admit I and many others have a slightly biased opinion towards Rogers that works against them. Their brand is not well liked in this country.

June 18, 2015 @ 3:58 PM

turned off bach

I didn't like Don Cherry (ding f'ing dong) but the game announcers on CBC I liked.

June 18, 2015 @ 4:32 PM


The ratings probably would be 25-30% lower if Coaches Corner wasn't broadcast during games.
I mainly tuned in to see Ron & Don.
Pre game - Strombo & crew are brutal as Strombo with very little sports knowledge asks at times stupid questions & others on the panel answer with no relevance. Kypreos is probably the best of the bunch.

The season is TOO LONG.

June 18, 2015 @ 6:35 PM


I agree with Hector.

Give it back to CBC and TSN

June 18, 2015 @ 6:43 PM


Lebron and co?

Also, I don't think the format works. Strombo is just ok although that may also be a product of the format of the show.

June 19, 2015 @ 9:39 AM


Speaking of Lebron - how the hell does he not win the playoff MVP? He IS the Cavs. Without him, they're a lottery team. Its happened before where a player on the losing team wins the MVP. It should have happened here.

June 19, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


I was wondering this myself. I think it's because the series only went six games. Had it gone seven, LeBron would have won even if the Cavs lost.

I don't think the NBA wanted to honour a player on the team that only won two games in the final.

June 19, 2015 @ 10:46 AM

Teena in Toronto

Who wants to watch hockey in the summer? The season runs too late.

June 19, 2015 @ 11:18 AM


Well, I was the one who wanted hockey all summer long because I hated baseball. If my teams were out, I would pick a team to cheer for. Not anymore. My Coyotes didn't make it. My Habs didn't get passed the second round so after my Habs were done, hockey was finished for me. Funny, I hated baseball, but now I like it. I hear more about the individual players and how they do and the paid audio subscription is not much at all, who can't afford $25.00 per year and I get the choice of announcers. Well, I will probably follow hockey until the end if my Habs make it deeper and they will.

June 19, 2015 @ 11:27 AM


I have to agree with the season run too late..cut 10 or 15 games..start the Playoffs early..
also one goal games can be exciting I do admit but having a majority of them one goal games that becomes old fast..and sometime the better team doesn't always win. Hand it to the Hawks though..they can play both grind it out Hockey and goal fest hockey..

June 19, 2015 @ 1:25 PM


I can't stand the Rogers coverage. From the "personalities" right down to the set. I found myself watching the NBC feed for the game action as well on account of Glenn Healy being so smug and fixated on how fast every shot on net is.

June 19, 2015 @ 8:21 PM


Blow up Rogers Leaf games with personalities overall just like the Leafs.
Trade them all to CBC.
Start Afresh Rogers with your Hockey Night in Cda.

June 19, 2015 @ 8:31 PM


I honestly think a significant part of why I don't watch hockey is because I feel like it's pushed on me so much. The sports media here goes so overboard on the NHL. I feel like it's overkill and I just get sick of it. Plus beer commercials constantly push loving hockey with being Canadian and patriotism in a way that I don't really like. It's just to sell damn beer, people.

I dunno. I love baseball, basketball and the NFL. And I totally respect people who are super into hockey. But I stopped watching hockey a while ago.

June 20, 2015 @ 2:31 AM


Piping in a little late... Hockey leaves me cold when the weather is hot! As others have said, the season is too long.

I also don't like the way hockey is played today. Too defensive. Most players can't pass well. I miss the players who could pick the puck up in their end and rush the length of the rink. Too many over paid players not giving their money's worth.

June 22, 2015 @ 9:24 PM


I HATE Robbers ...I mean Rogers. I try to avoid that greedy ass company at all costs. Hockey is Canada's game and it should be Canada's station (CBC) running the show. I barely watched any hockey at all this year and I didn't even miss it. I haven't been to a leafs game since Robbers bought the team and you know what, I don't miss that either. Look at the money I am saving!

Hockey is my game and I love to play it but this whole Robbers owning the content rights turned me right off of the NHL.

Maybe the geniuses at Robbers will axe Strombo for Blundell.....now that would be funny and they might be stupid enough to do it!

June 23, 2015 @ 7:34 PM

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