Yeah, this is the first thing I thought when I saw these numbers. If many teams in the NHL are gaining 50%+ and losing 50%+ year to year, I don't think these numbers are particularly meaningful.
I mean the implication is that there are fewer people watching on TV than at the games. That's insane to me.
Measuring TV ratings isn't an exact science either so 12,000 households can mean more eyes are watching. Plus I don't believe the TV numbers include those who may be watching via NHL Center Ice or the Gamecenter App.
The drop in ratings is a bummer but the Devils should still get their money from MSG regardless.