The numbers are in and the new format seemed to have piqued fan interest based on TV ratings. On Friday even the first ever All-Star Game Draft drew over 600,000 American viewers on Versus and 1.5 million Canadians on TSN. The Skills Competition drew about 1.2 million on Versus and 2.4 million on the CBC and the actual game had an audience of 1.5 million on Versus and 2.4 million on CBC.
These numbers may not seem like much but both CBC and Versus were thrilled because they were far larger than previous years. The fact that the U.S. cable network did not draw as many viewers as the Canadian networks was expected. We all know that there isn't a big TV audience for hockey in the U.S. The largest numbers for Versus came from Detroit and Raleigh was fourth which would suggest that even the team captains had an influence on who turned on the game.
Don't expect much change in the format next season based on these numbers. Though I expect the draft might look a little different to avoid further embarrassment to Phil Kessel should be return next year.