Last week I wrote that Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals was beaten by the Champions League Final in the Washington television market, and was more than doubled by Game 1 of the NBA Finals. When I converted that item to print, I made some sort of snarky comment about America’s Hockey Capital.
That led to some e-mails on both sides, including one from an anonymous but very angry reader:
Get real....For anyone to suggest Washington, DC, as “America’s Hockey Capital” is nothing short of preposterous!
No one in their right mind could even say that in jest --- it is that utterly absurd. For starters, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, New York and Minneapolis-St. Paul are ALL well above anything that Washington, DC and environs has to offer.
Well, I had obviously been on his general side of this argument, but since I am trained to disagree, now I started fighting back. And indeed, while I still think “America’s Hockey Capital” is a bit much, the television ratings don’t necessarily support anonymous.
For example, Washington’s previously discussed 3.0 Nielsen rating ranked 9th among the 21 U.S. hockey markets, according to Puck The Media. Yes, that means the game did a higher rating here than in New York (2.8) and Chicago (2.6).
Furthermore, Game 1 on NBC also did well in the three other metered markets in Maryland and Virginia. It got a 3.9 in Richmond — tied for first among all non-NHL U.S. markets outside of New England. It got a 2.9 in Baltimore. And it got a 2.7 in Norfolk, which — at least for football and baseball — is sort of the outer ring of D.C. fandom.
Things weren’t quite as robust for Game 2, but the game still got a 1.8 in the Washington market, ahead of Chicago (1.6) and behind New York, again according to Puck the Media. That was tied for 13th, just slightly behind Philadelphia and York. And again, the outer markets did well, with Norfolk (2.6), Baltimore (1.7) and Richmond (1.6) all in the top half of the measured non-NHL cities.
The grand and controversial conclusion? D.C. isn’t America’s Hockey Capital, and it isn’t America’s Hockey Backwater. It’s, like, America’s Hockey Medium Sized Provincial Port City.