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Sochi Olympics, Syracuse hoops, "Downton" winners here

By Alan Pergament

It may have seemed like I was reporting every day during the Sochi Olympics about how high the ratings were on cable's NBC Sports Network and Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate.

I got tired of writing about the local success, and judging by my blog hits you got tired of reading about how the ratings in Western New York were No. 1 for the U.S. women's loss in the hockey finals to Canada and for the U.S. men's hockey loss in the semifinals to Canada.

I never got around to tell you that the U.S. men's hockey 5-0 loss in the bronze medal game to Finland also was No.1 nationally.

However, many WNYers seemed to lose as much interest as the NHL players did in that game. The rating of 6.0 for the loss to Finland Saturday on the NBCSN was about half of what it was here for the USA loss to Canada Friday afternoon.

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner said last week that the NBC affiliate exceeded the estimates it gave to advertisers for the Games. And interest remained strong right through the closing ceremonies, where Channel 2 was No. 5 nationally with a 12.3 rating.

NBC reported that Buffalo was the No.9 rated market in the country in prime time during the Sochi Olympics, averaging a 15.4 rating. The rating is even more impressive when you consider that many WNYers had the option of watching Sochi events live on CBC.

Channel 2 reports that its prime time ratings were almost 20 percent higher than the national average and 4.1 percent higher than the ratings here for the Vancouver Games four years ago when the time delay was much shorter. Nationally, NBC had a higher household rating in Vancouver, when some events were carried live in prime time.

While I am discussing ratings, here are a few more things to note locally:

The upbeat season finale of "Downton Abbey," which ended sweetly with Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes holding hands in the water, had a 6.3 rating on WNED-TV. That was well above the 5.4 fast national household rating that "Downton" received nationally.

Syracuse University's controversial 66-60 men's basketball loss to Duke Saturday on ESPN had a 6.1 rating, which means it had a slightly higher viewership here than Team USA's hockey loss to Finland on NBCSN.

Speaking of the Sochi Olympics, Thursday's episode of "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other" will go inside and outside the locker room of the NHL players in the tournament. That includes South Buffalo's Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, who was Team USA's best offensive player against the Canadians but had a rough game against Finland. NBC's Mike Emrick said during some of the tournament games that Kane's mother will be featured watching her son play. The program airs at 8 p.m. on CBC and at 10 p.m. on NBCSN.



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