Stanley Cup Playoffs Scoring Big Across NBCUniversal Networks
Bolstered by the first Game 7 tripleheader in 11 years, 25 one-goal games, 14 overtime games, and a record 10 multi-goal comeback wins, the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs delivered significant viewership or consumption increases across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, a number of the NBC Sports Regional Networks, and NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product. (Photo: AP Images)
NBC, NBCSN and CNBC combined to average 752,000 viewers for 46 first-round games, up 57% vs. last year’s first round (478,000 for 45 games). Home markets are blacked out on cable in the first round. Locally, a number of NBC Sports Regional Networks provided live first-round game coverage of their respective teams, with CSN Chicago and CSN Philadelphia posting record viewership. Digitally, viewers consumed nearly 58 million minutes of live streaming content on NBC Sports Live Extra, up 437% vs. last year’s first round (10.77 million).
Following are viewership and consumption highlights through the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs (April 16-30):
NBCSN averaged 614,000 viewers (28 games) for the first round, up 35% vs. 2013 (455,000 for 26 games). In its third year of televising Stanley Cup Playoff games, CNBC averaged 299,000 viewers (12 games), up 1% vs. 2013 (295,000 for 16 games).
Overall cable coverage (NBCSN and CNBC combined), which was blacked out in the home markets during the first round, averaged 518,000 viewers (40 games), up 32% compared to the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs (391,000 for 42 games).
The most-watched cable game of the first round was played last night, when the Rangers advanced to the second round with a 2-1 win over the Flyers in Game 7 of their series. The game, which was blacked out in the local markets, averaged 1.120 million viewers, and peaked during the 9:30 p.m. ET quarter-hour with 1.655 million viewers. The contest is the most-watched first-round game on cable in two years, since 1.322 million viewers watched Game 7 of Capitals-Bruins on April 25, 2012.
NBCSN and CNBC combined to air three Game 7s last night, and averaged 1.112 million viewers across both networks during the overlap time from 9:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. ET.
NBC aired six 2014 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round games over the past two weekends. Games averaged 2.184 million viewers, up 39% percent from last year (1.572 million for three games). Game 2 of the Red Wings-Bruins series, which aired on April 20, averaged 2.784 million viewers, making it the most-watched game of the playoffs so far.
A number of NBC Sports Regional Networks featured first-round Stanley Cup Playoff coverage and recorded impressive viewership, most notably in Chicago and Philadelphia.
Blackhawks ratings surged +27% over last year’s first-round slate of games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago (11.75 vs. 9.24). They averaged more than 415,000 homes per game in the country’s third-largest DMA. NHL playoff coverage powered CSN to close out the month of April as Chicago’s No. 1 ranked cable network in prime time.
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s coverage of last night’s Game 7 between the Flyers and Rangers peaked at more than 576,000 viewers and posted an 8.32 rating among Adults 25-54 to rank as the highest-rated program in all of television (broadcast and cable) during the entire month of April in the Philadelphia DMA.
NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for the web, tablets and mobile devices, delivered the best first round in NHL live streaming ever.
The opening round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs delivered 57.83 million minutes, 463,000 unique viewers, 1.49 million visits and 3.66 million live starts. Those figures were up 437% (10.77 million), 401% (116K), 384% (308K), and 616% (512K), respectively, vs. last year. Live streams from games that aired on NBCSN and CNBC were blacked out in the local markets.
Game 6 between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, in which the Blackhawks clinched the series with a 5-1 win at home, delivered the most minutes consumed in the first round with 2.81 million. The game aired on NBC on Sunday, April 27, and the stream was not blacked out in St. Louis and Chicago.