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Stanley Cup playoff games score big ratings boost for NBC
When it comes to this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, there’s already a winner: NBC, whose networks and streaming site are seeing a big jump in the ratings compared to last year.
NBC Sports Group attributes the spike largely to a new playoff format that’s emphasized divisional rivalries in the first round.
NBC aired three 2014 Stanley Cup playoff games last weekend. Final viewership figures are only available for Saturday’s infamous matchup that resulted in Brent Seabrook getting a three-game suspension. Game 2 of the Blackhawks-Blues averaged 1.855 million viewers, up 52 percent from the comparable game in 2013 (NYR-Was, 1.217 viewers, 5/4/13).
Through the first five days of the playoffs (April 16-20), NBCSN is averaging 621,000 viewers (10 games), up 61 percent vs. 2013 (386,000 for 10 games).
In its third year of televising Stanley Cup playoff games, CNBC is averaging 295,000 viewers (four games), up 25 percent vs. 2013 (236,000 for seven games).
Overall cable coverage (NBCSN and CNBC), which is blacked out in the home markets during the first round, is averaging 521,000 viewers (14 games), up 63 percent compared to the first five days of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs (320,000 for 17 games).
NBC Sports Group says interest in this year’s postseason has been bolstered by:
- Six two-goal comebacks so far this postseason, just two fewer than the total of eight for the entire 2013 playoffs.
- Twelve one-goal games.
- The Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings meeting in the postseason for the first time since 1957.
- The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers matching up in the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
- The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues meeting for the first time in 12 years.
Through the first five days, NBC Sports Live Extra’s live streaming coverage has delivered 18.8 million minutes, 206,000 unique viewers, 508,000 visits and 1.22 million live starts. Those figures are up 532 percent (2.98 million minutes), 482 percent (36,000 uniques), 469 percent (89,000 visits), and 739 percent (145,000 live starts), respectively, vs. the first five days of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Games are averaging 1.11 million minutes consumed, 26,000 unique viewers, 30,000 visits and 72,000 live starts in 2014. Game 1 of Blackhawks-Blues, which went into triple overtime, has generated the most consumption with 2.7 million minutes.
Following are the top five games in minutes consumed (*Required authentication):
April 17 Game 1 Blackhawks-Blues 2.70 million*
April 19 Game 2 Blackhawks-Blues 2.40 million
April 20 Game 2 Red Wings-Bruins 1.85 million
April 20 Game 2 Flyers-Rangers 1.57 million
April 19 Game 2 Blue Jackets-Penguins 1.54 million*