Ratings Roundup: Carmelo’s Knicks Debut Puts Up 16-Year High for MSG Network

Carmelo Anthony’s ultra-hyped debut in a New York Knicks uniform earned MSG Network its highest rating for a regular-season telecast since 1995. The Knicks’ 114-108 win over the Milwaukee Bucks averaged a 6.7 household rating and 507,285 households in the New York market. That is the highest rating since a 6.78 on March 28, 1995, when Michael Jordan poured in 55 points on the Knicks. MSG Network’s previous season high was a 3.61 rating for the team’s 118-116 loss to Boston on Dec. 15. Anthony’s debut lifted MSG Network’s season average to a 1.62 rating in the New York market through 52 telecasts, up 60% from a 1.01 average last year.

The 2011 Heritage Classic on Versus last Sunday night posted a 0.3 U.S. rating and averaged 608,000 viewers, making it the fourth-most-watched regular-season game in the network’s history and third-best this season. The Calgary Flames’ 4-0 blowout of the Montreal Canadiens drew more U.S. viewers than any other regular-season cable telecast featuring two Canadian teams since NHL viewership became available by Nielsen in the 1993-94 season. The 608,000 viewers also marks a 95% increase from the 2010-11 NHL regular-season average on Versus (311,000 viewers).

Earlier on Sunday, NBC Sports’ coverage of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Chicago Blackhawks faceoff, the second game of “Hockey Day in America,” which went head to head with the Daytona 500, was watched by 1.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game in five years (1/14/06, three-game regional on NBC, 2.0 million). The game also posted a 1.1 rating, tied with last year’s Penguins-Capitals (2/7) for the highest regular-season non-Winter Classic NHL game in four years (3/4/07, three-game regional on NBC, 1.2).