Golden Globe hosts, actually: Rich, white and increasingly female.
Paulsen of Sports Media Watch just completed a multi-part demographic study of sports television audiences, including that of the National Hockey League. They were based on 2013 sports viewership, which means the NHL conclusions are based on the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.
1. The NHL Has The Least Diverse Audience For Its Championship Round
Hockey’s long been the butt of “Stuff White People Like” jokes, and like any good joke there’s an element of truth to it.
Consider first that the audience for the NBA Final was between 55 and 61 percent minority fans; either African-American, Hispanic or “Asian” according to SMW.
This isn’t exactly news. The NHL has long tried to figure out how to attract demographics that don’t have a cultural tie to ice hockey, from “Hockey in Harlem”-like community outreach and by trotting out Willie O’Ree everywhere from all-star games to elementary schools.
I view these numbers like I do the USA Hockey participation numbers for minorities, and that’s with optimism and patience. That the NHL has achieved what it’s achieved without tapping these audiences is impressive, just like USA Hockey’s progress is impressive without having a diverse pool of athletes to choose from. It is, in my opinion, a matter of time before the U.S. starts producing more Seth Joneses and Emerson Etems; and it’s a matter of time before inroads into minority TV audiences are made, because the fan bases for teams like the Blackhawks keep expanding.
If we look back at these numbers in 10 years, I think we’ll see the needle will have moved to a more diverse audience.
2. The NHL Has Strong Female Viewership
So despite being a knuckle-dragging sport filled with blood and violence and deplorable behavior … women are nearly making up half the viewership for the Stanley Cup Final.
(One thought on this: Is there a Chicago effect in these numbers, considering the strength of their female fan base?)
The bottom line is that woman hockey fans are significant, important part of the overall viewing audience in the U.S. And that’s even with male fans being myopic, clubby jerks to them because they assume boobs equal lack of hockey knowledge.
3. Finally, We Are Young … So Let’s Buy Something
In its summation of the NHL’s audience, SMW writes:
The NHL has always had a fan base with disposable income, which explains why games with preposterous ticket prices get sold out and Jersey Fouls get created. It’s the reason why, even in the years when hockey was an afterthought, the NHL has always been able to attract advertisers.
But yeah … we need more viewers. In the NHL’s defense, hockey’s really only been cool for five years, but still: More viewers, more coverage from hockey-bashing media gatekeepers who watch the ratings like a bellwether instead of more important metrics like social media impact.
This all speaks to an annual demand from your friends at Puck Daddy to all U.S. hockey fans:
Every year, bring someone that’s never been to an NHL game to his or her first NHL game.
No matter the gender, race, age or any other demographic: Take a hockey virgin to their first live hockey game, and watch as they join our glorious Borg Collective of puckheads.
(Seriously, what do we need you do? Sign a contract, promising to do this every year?)