Another Lightning record: Drawing viewers to their historic regular-season performance

Another Tampa Bay Lightning broken record for the 2018-19 NHL season. The only difference with this one, it was a feat fans helped them achive: It was the most popular season of Lightning hockey in Fox Sports Sun broadcast history. (Damn shame local news coverage by Tampa Bay media didn’t reflect the popularity during the regular season… just sayin’…)

I’ll let the official press release from Fox Sports do the talking. Read below:


 FOX Sports Sun, the regional television home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, announced the 2018-19 Lightning regular season finished as the highest rated ever in the 26-year history of the franchise on the network. The Lightning posted a 2.34 HH rating average (43,885 homes) over the course of 70 regular season games on FOX Sports Sun. The 2.34 HH surpassed last year’s high mark (1.83 HH over 75 games) to finish as the new highest- rated Lightning season ever and marked a +28% increase for the Lightning in year-over-year viewership. It also was the Bolts sixth consecutive season of regular-season ratings growth on the network.

“All season long, the Lightning have treated our viewers to a phenomenal hockey season,” said SVP / GM of FOX Sports Florida and FOX Sports Sun Steve Tello. “We are proud to join the Lightning in celebrating a historic regular season on the ice and on our network, and are excited for fans and viewers as we launch our broadcast plans for the first-round.”

“It’s been a banner year on and off the ice for the Lightning and these tremendous TV ratings are just one more positive this season,” said Lightning CEO Steve Griggs. “We’d like to greatly thank our partners at FOX Sports for chronicling every moment for our fans with their outstanding coverage of our team and our games this year. We look forward to more great broadcasts in the postseason.” 

Additional ratings notes:

March 2019 finished as the highest-rated month of Lightning hockey ever (2.93 HH avg.) on FOX Sports Sun.

March 2019 surpassed December 2018 (2.36 HH avg.), January 218 (2.21 HH) and January 2013 (2.21 HH) for the most-watched crown.

The Lightning vs.  Boston Bruins game on Monday, March 25 was the highest-rated regular season Lightning game ever on FOX Sports Sun (3.43 HH).

The Lightning posted their highest streamed season ever between the FOX Sports app and FOX Sports GO. Live streaming finished up +38% year-over-year.

The  Lightning scored higher than a 3.0 HH average in 16 games this season.

For perspective, the last regular season Lightning game to register a 3.0 HH or higher before this season was vs. the Chicago Blackhawks in 2016. It was the only game to reach the 3.0 HH mark that season.

The top-five most watched games this season were:

March 25 vs. Boston (3.43 HH)

March 2 vs. Ottawa (3.38 HH)

Feb. 21 vs. Buffalo (3.34 HH)

April 1 at Ottawa (3.11 HH)

March 21 at Carolina (3.09 HH).

Fox Sports Florida / Fox Sports Sun PR

Those dates of the highest rated games reflect the late-arriving fanbase (“Hey, the NFL and NCAA football seasons ended, what else is on?”) and the factor gets slightly compounded by the fact games against the lowly Senators and Sabres were among the top tier in ratings.

One clarification of note that I need to lay out: The streaming numbers do not include NHL.tv broadcasts of the Fox Sports feed.

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