After scrapping its Fantasy Draft gimmick, the NHL and its television partners still felt the need to air something on Friday night of All-Star Game weekend.
“NHL All-Star Friday Night: Live in Music City” was an hour-long special on NBCSN and Sportsnet that featured brief interviews with a few players, Roman Josi visiting a guitar factory and musical performances by country music stars Aaron Lewis, Big & Rich, Kristian Bush, John Hiatt, Lee Greenwood and Lee Brice. As well as Matt Duchene playing guitar.
Was it terrible? As our own Ryan Lambert wrote in his review: “This was some deeply troubling television.”
Alas, the ratings reflected this sentiment. Two days before the 3-on-3 tournament and the John Scott phenomenon propelled NBCSN to its strongest All-Star Game ratings, the Friday night “Live in the Music City” show generated just 130,000 viewers overall and a stunning 45,000 viewers in adults 18-49. For perspective: Four of the last five Winter Classics had more people in the stands than this show had people between the ages of 18-49 watching it.
For more perspective, here are some of the shows from the previous week on NBCSN that had more viewers than the official NHL All-Star Game kickoff:
- NASCAR Hall of Fame Preview Special (6 p.m. ET, 1/22) – 137,000 viewers
- A Rerun of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Preview Special (1 p.m. ET, 1/23) – 201,000 viewers
- World Series of Fighting (1/23, 10 p.m. ET) – 213,000 viewers
In case you were wondering, the NHL Fantasy Draft last season delivered 310,000 viewers on NBCSN, which was down 24% from the 2012 Fantasy Draft (408,000).
The NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition, meanwhile, drew 870,000 viewers, which was down from the 895,000 viewers from 2012. A shame, as this skills competition was awesome. Maybe this was the “bad aftertaste” the Nashville Predators brass was worried about.
The final audience for the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday was 1.595 million viewers, well ahead of last year’s (1.194 million) audience.
How do you fix the Friday night show? I say hand an hour of programming to P.K. Subban and have him do as he pleases with it. Jeff Marek, my podcasting partner, had a keen idea too: Have players like Subban watch old All-Star Game footage, maybe even from their youth, and comment on it “Mystery Science Theater 3000” style.
What would you do to spice it up?
All-Star ratings information is from Douglas Pucci, a.k.a. Son Of The Bronx.