Television ratings for the first set of professional hockey games played by the Vegas Golden Knights have increased by 135 percent since the telecasts moved from a regional sports channel to free broadcast television, according to the E. W. Scripps Company.
In a press release on Wednesday, Scripps said the first five regular-season games played by the Vegas Golden Knights had significantly higher viewership than national games aired on ESPN and TNT.
Earlier this year, Scripps said it reached a deal with the team to move regular-season telecasts to its Las Vegas-area independent station KMCC (Channel 34), though some games will also air on ABC affiliate KTNV (Channel 13), which the company also owns.
On average, the games are pulling in an 8.5 share, indicating 8.5 percent of television households in the broadcast area where the games are offered are watching them, according to Scripps. The highest rated game took place on October 21 against the Dallas Stars, which had a 10.5 share.
The ratings data was attributed to Comscore. Typically, television ratings are sourced from Nielsen, which has long been the industry standard. It was not clear why Scripps chose Comscore ratings over Nielsen.
“The viewership and engagement we are seeing for the Golden Knights this year have grown incredibly and should dispel any doubts about the power of an over-the-air broadcast channel to serve sports fans,” Brian Lawlor, the president of Scripps Sports, said in a statement. “The Golden Knights wanted to reach more of their fans, and they clearly are.”
“This partnership with Scripps Sports has allowed more of our fans to access our games on TV than ever before,” Kerry Bubolz, the president of the Vegas Golden Knights, said on Wednesday. “With the team’s success as defending Stanley Cup champions and our 9-0-1 start, we couldn’t have asked for a better time to provide this enhanced access for our fans in the Las Vegas Valley and beyond.”
In addition to offering Vegas Golden Knights games on broadcast TV, the games are simulcast through a new streaming service called Knight Time Plus, which costs $7 per game or $70 for a season pass. Out-of-market streaming access is offered through Disney-owned service ESPN Plus, while out-of-market television broadcasts are available through NHL Center Ice on cable and satellite.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said the first five season games had higher viewership on Scripps Sports when compared to the team’s previous home, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain. The ratings collected by Comscore and offered by Scripps compared broadcast games to those aired by ESPN and TNT.