SBD/May 2, 2014/Media

NBC, CNBC, NBCSN Viewership Up During Conference Quarterfinal Round Of NHL Playoffs

Wednesday's Rangers-Flyers game was the most-watched on cable in the first round
The opening round of the '14 Stanley Cup Playoffs delivered a significant viewership increase for NBC Sports Group. NBCSN averaged 614,000 viewers for its 28 conference quarterfinal games, up 35% from '13 (455,000 for 26 games). In its third year of televising Stanley Cup Playoff games, CNBC averaged 299,000 viewers for its 12 games, up 1% from '13 (295,000 for 16 games). Overall cable coverage (NBCSN+CNBC), which is blacked out in the home markets during the first round, averaged 518,000 viewers for 40 games, up 32% (391,000 for 42 games). The most-watched cable TV game of the first round was Wednesday's Rangers-Flyers Game 7 with 1.12 million viewers. The contest also is the most-watched first-round game on cable since Capitals-Bruins Game 7 in '12 earned 1.32 million viewers. NBC aired six first-round games over the past two weekends, averaging 2.18 million viewers, up 39% from 1.57 million for three games last year. Bruins-Red Wings Game 2 on April 20 averaged 2.78 million viewers, making it the most-watched game of the playoffs so far (NBC Sports).

MARKET ANALYSIS: Game 7 of the of the Wild-Avalanche first-round series was the highest-rated telecast ever in FS North history, generating a 16.4 local rating in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market. The previous record was a 15.3 rating for a White Sox-Twins game in August '10 (FS North)....Comcast SportsNet Chicago averaged an 11.75 local rating for its Blackhawks games during the first round, up 27% from a 9.24 rating for last year’s first-round series against the Wild (NBC Sports)....FS Ohio's broadcast of Penguins-Blue Jackets Game 5 drew an 8.08 local rating, marking the "second-highest" figure in Blue Jackets history (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 4/29)....MSG Networks' Rangers-Flyers Game 7 scored a 5.51 local rating in the N.Y. market, becoming the best-rated hockey game on the RSN in two years (Rangers-Senators Game 7 in '12 scored a 5.74 local rating). Ranges-Flyers Game 7 was on both MSG and MSG+, and all figures represent a combination of the two networks’ audience. MSG’s five telecasts from the Ranges-Flyers series averaged a 3.37 local rating, up 13% from the Rangers' first conference quarterfinal series against the Capitals last year (MSG).

TICKETS IN HIGH DEMAND: StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis talked about the secondary ticket market for the NHL Playoffs so far and said the upcoming Rangers-Penguins Eastern Conference Semifinal series "saw a huge amount of sales" Wednesday after the Rangers beat the Flyers. He said Rangers fans are "absolutely among the best fans that we have buying on StubHub." He added the Kings-Ducks Western Conference Semifinal series, which is "sort of a highway series that's happening here in California," also is popular. Tsakalakis: "While there is a somewhat limited overall size of the NHL fan base, it's actually a really strong category on StubHub" ("After The Bell," Fox Business, 5/1).
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