If the Buffalo Sabres do not lose television ratings between now and the end of the season, they will have successfully toppled the Pittsburgh Penguins from the top of the NHL local television ratings after a six-year reign.
Despite Buffalo's lowly ranking in the NHL table, fans have been tuning in to marvel in the exploits of phenomenon Jack Eichel, as well as Dan Bylsma's first season in charge with a team assembled by General Manager Tim Murray. With almost two-thirds of the season gone, Sabres games on MSG are getting an average 6.81 rating, which is up 55 percent from last season.
The previous two 'tank' seasons had seen those ratings plummet, with the Sabres in second place as recently as 2013-14 season before the fire sale that got rid of what was known as the Sabres' 'core'.
The uptick in viewer ratings could be lucrative for Buffalo, as their contract with the MSG network expires after the 2016-17 season. The Sabres pay for all production costs incurred, and will pocket a rights fee of nearly $10 million next year as well as keeping all the advertising revenue.
The ratings analysis for all the NHL teams is below -
Image courtesy of Sports Business Daily