After the Timberwolves’ regular season ended, Fox Sports North put out a news release about the team’s relatively strong television performance this year.
The Wolves had a 2.6 rating in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market on FSN this season, up 78 percent over a year ago. The improvement from 31 to 47 wins and the team’s dramatic, ultimately successful push for its first postseason berth since 2004 surely played a role in that.
I don’t recall seeing a similar release on the Wild this season — it’s entirely possible I missed it — but Sports Business Daily filled in the gap nicely with a recent piece on local NHL TV ratings this season.
Per that report, the Wild had a 3.43 rating on FSN — down 22 percent from the previous year. I’m not overly surprised by the decrease. Even as the Wild churned toward a sixth consecutive playoff berth, it wasn’t an overly compelling or different team than we had seen in past years. On nights when both the Wild and Wolves were televised on FSN and FSN+, the Wild might have lost some battles it previously won given increased interest in the Wolves.
So as far as TV ratings go, this is still the State of Hockey. But the gap has narrowed considerably.
Assuming this year’s numbers are accurate, if the Wolves improved by 78 percent to 2.6, that means their rating for the 2016-17 season was 1.46.
And if the Wild decreased 22 percent to 3.43, it means Minnesota’s rating in 2016-17 was 4.40.
A rating point in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market represents 17,600 households.
So a season ago, the Wild TV ratings were three times as high as the Wolves’ ratings. Roughly 25,600 viewers watched the Wolves on FSN on average per game, and 77,400 viewers watched the Wild.
This year? 45,700 watched the Wolves and 60,300 watched the Wild on average.
It added up to a net-gain for FSN spanning both teams, with 103,000 viewers per game combined a season ago and 106,000 this year.
And the other good news for the Wild (and FSN) is that, per Sports Business Daily, the Wild ranked fourth among the 22 U.S. markets for which local TV data is available.