within the NHL
KCPQ FOX Word 13 almost Weekly half hour “What is Kraken?” The show comes at the right time for an improving NHL team looking to expand fan support in the market while still grappling with steadfast ratings on ROOT Sports.
Top rooters are still baffled by the game broadcast rating among the bottom third of the US-based NHL teams, After it became big on a staff led by longtime national broadcaster John Vorslund Ed Olczyk Along with improvement and popularity Former player JT Brown. Throw in the multi-talented reporter Piper Show – an aspiring musician who recently rose to fame The songs have been released on Spotify — and analytics specialist Allison Lucan along with Olczyk’s son, Nick, as studio analyst and it’s hard to find a more comprehensive local broadcast than the NHL.
Early last week the Kraken averaged just 0.68 a season in the Seattle-Tacoma market. Rank 16y of 23 NHL teams in the United States – Carolina and Nashville data were not available – in rankings by Nielsen Media Research.
So the ratings have not yet tracked the improvement of the team’s fortunes on the ice.
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t always make him watch hockey,” said a well-placed broadcast industry source familiar with the situation, calling the ratings somewhat “bewildering.”
The source opined that the market for competitive sports in Seattle may not have helped and that the Kraken should take advantage of it This upcoming stretch alone is in the spotlight.
“The next two or three months will be very telling,” the source said. “You had the Mariners last in the playoffs and the Seahawks — well, they tend to suck the oxygen out of the local sports scene in the beginning, and they made the playoffs when they weren’t supposed to.
“But now the Krakens are all on their own. All focus will be on them.”
The Kraken’s season began in Anaheim the same week the Mariners played Houston in the NFL. The Kraken achieved a season-high rating of 1.6 across 34,250 households in that opening on an off day between Mariners games.
But they only scored 0.7 in their second game on the same day as the Mariners. Then 0.4 in their home opener against Vegas as the Mariners played through town in a 1-0 loss, 18 innings pitched.
When the Seahawks played Carolina on December 11, the Kraken pulled a season-low 0.1 average across 2,645 households in a Florida road win. They only got 0.3 that week in Carolina while the Seahawks hosted San Francisco.
Even when the Kraken wasn’t going head-to-head with local teams, the Seahawks and Mariners dominated media coverage.
Although it’s hard to find fault with Kraken’s broadcasts, some experts in the industry point out that the lack of local characters could also cause ratings to plummet. The ROOT crew is mostly imported and lacks faces that local sports fans might instantly recognize.
This is where the FOX 13 “What is the Kraken?” Portions of the interviews and investigations, which debuted Feb. 8 and are co-hosted by FOX 13 sportscaster Aaron Levine and KJR sports radio host Ian Furness, could broaden the team’s exposure. Additional Fox 13 Kraken coverage will feature the “Hockey 101” segment on “Good Day Seattle” hosted by broadcaster Bill Wixey. FOX 13 anchor Alyssa Charleston and digital reporter Curtis Crabtree will also contribute.
KCPQ is also free with a basic antenna setup, unlike the ROOT cable subscription model. And more people becoming familiar with the Kraken should improve the success of the franchise and could get viewers to pay for ROOT broadcasts.
One thing worth noting: Nielsen in January 2022 began counting “broadband-only” homes — those that stream content online — in its ratings alongside traditional TV viewers.
This would seem to help Kraken’s ratings in the popular “cord cutter” market, but the opposite is true. The rating point is equal to 1% of the measured homes in the market. By including broadband households, Nielsen has expanded the size of the measured market, but Kraken’s broadcast share within it has declined because not all streaming services carry regional sports networks like ROOT.
This also somewhat skews the Kraken’s NHL rating. Nielsen had Seattle tied with Atlanta for the nation’s highest percentage of “broadband only” households in the market at 41.2% while Pittsburgh was the lowest at 23.7%.
So Seattle’s sports programs are being punished the most by the new methodology and Pittsburgh’s the least. Interestingly, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ rating of 4.86 leads all American NHL teams.
Now, the Penguins are doing consistently well and will likely top the rankings regardless. But seven times better than the Kraken’s ratings? It has become difficult to measure the true gap.
Kraken President Victor De Bonis takes an optimistic view, given that his team is trying to break into an established sports market. De Bonis said he’s seen encouraging reviews lately and hopes to surpass the Kraken 1.0 by the end of the season — which will likely rank in the top 10 among American teams.
“At this point in time, we’re going head-to-head with these franchises that are well-established in this market, so we feel very good about that,” de Bonis said of the valuations garnered amid playoff runs between the Seahawks and Mariners. “And since the team has been doing better, we’re getting a 1.0 now, which should put us in the top 10 in the league. Which, for a brand-new franchise here, we’re very happy about.”
There’s still work ahead to jump from 0.68 to 1.0 – which would effectively double viewership from here.
Things picked up the last three games of 2022, with ratings of 1.1, 1.1 and 0.9, but Kraken still ended December with a 0.6 average across 13,486 households. Last season, with the new Nielsen system in place, the Kraken’s worst TV months of February and March drew 0.6 ratings in 12,776 and 13,237 households, respectively.
Even coming home last week streaking in eight games, the Kraken hit 0.8 on an off day against Tampa Bay, 0.9 in Edmonton, and then 0.6 at home against New Jersey and Colorado.
Through December of last season, the Kraken reached an average of 27,575 households per game — double its current audience. Curious fans seemed to get a first look before disappearing as the Kraken fell out of the competition.
With the Kraken team now winning, they need to lure these curiosity seekers back in. but how? More mainstream exposure. The FOX 13 deal is beneficial. The same goes for public events such as Team Skills Competition Sunday. Oh, and keep winning during this exclusive window.
Ratings indicate that the team’s initial novelty quickly wore off. Now, Team Kraken must continue to work off the ice and hope the novelty of chasing the playoffs generates additional interest.
NHL TV Ratings
TV ratings for U.S.-based NHL teams as of January 13, according to Nielsen Media Research:
Pittsburgh Penguins: 4.86
Buffalo Sabers: 4.78
St. Louis Blues: 3.80
Boston Bruins: 3.66
Minnesota Wild: 2.39
Vegas Golden Knights: 2.18.0000
Tampa Bay Lightning: 2.13
Detroit Red Wings: 1.52
Chicago Blackhawks: 1.04
Washington Capitals: 1.02
Philadelphia Flyers: 0.99
Columbus Blue Jackets: 0.98
New York Rangers: 0.85
Colorado Avalanche: 0.82
Seattle Kraken: 0.68
Dallas Stars: 0.53
San Jose Sharks: 0.39
Florida Panthers: 0.34
Los Angeles Kings: 0.30
New York Islanders: 0.29
New Jersey Devils: 0.27
Arizona coyote: 0.22
Anaheim Ducks: 0.10
Note: Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators numbers are not available.