Considering the on-ice disappointment of not making the playoffs and finishing with fewer points than the year before, the Buffalo Sabres have to be pleased with their television ratings for the just-concluded season.
The Sabres averaged a 6.2 rating for their games carried by MSG and the NBCSN, which was down about 6 percent from the 6.6 rating the team averaged for games carried by those networks and NBC in the 2015-16 season. The Sabres didn’t have a NBC game this season.
In the 2015 season, the Sabres games averaged a 6.5 rating on MSG and a 6.6 rating overall.
The Sabres' slide in the final weeks of this season certainly didn't help. The team averaged a 5.0 rating for the last six games, ending with a 4.0 for Saturday's semifinal loss to Florida and a 4.2 rating for Sunday's loss in the season finale to Tampa Bay.
The ratings for the games the last two seasons have been about 60 percent higher than the 3.9 rating the team averaged in its tank season of 2014-15.
Even with the slight decline this season, the Sabres games are expected to be the top-rated or the No. 2 rated team among National Hockey League franchises in the United States. However, that doesn't mean they will be the most-watched team since the ratings in bigger markets are equal to many more viewers. In February, Pittsburgh was No. 2. It would need to have had a late season ratings surge to overcome the Sabres.
In other sports rating news of big recent events, Sergio Garcia's final round victory Sunday over Justin Rose in The Masters had a 9.0 rating on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate, down from a 10.6 for the final round a year earlier. Sunday's rating peaked at 13.9 at 7:15 p.m. during the one-hole playoff, perhaps aided by the number of viewers expecting to see "60 Minutes."
North Carolina's victory over Gonzaga in the men's college basketball tournament a week ago had a 10.9 rating on Channel 4, about 50 percent higher than the 7.3 rating that Villanova's last-second victory over North Carolina had a year earlier when the title game was carried on cable's TBS.