Penguins-Bruins Game 3 Marks Record NHL Conference Finals Audience For NBCSN
NBC Sports Network drew a 1.6 U.S. rating and 2.8 million viewers for the Bruins' 2-1 win over the Penguins in double OT of the Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 Wednesday from 8:00pm-12:19am ET, marking the net’s most-viewed Conference Finals telecast ever and best on cable TV since ’02. Wednesday night’s game peaked at 3.6 million viewers from 10:30-10:45pm. Meanwhile, NBC drew a 2.0 rating and 3.4 million viewers for Bruins-Penguins Game 1 last Saturday night, marking that net’s best Conference Finals audience since it began such coverage in ’06. The audience also marked the most-viewed Conference Finals game across all of TV in 11 years. The Bruins-Penguins opener peaked with 4.2 million viewers from 9:45-10:00pm. The game also earned a 19.6 local rating in Boston, marking the net’s best figure ever in the market for a non-Stanley Cup Final telecast (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). In Pittsburgh, Bob Cohn notes the Pittsburgh market drew a 22.7 local rating for Game 3, meaning more people watched the game in Pittsburgh "than anywhere in the country." That rating was 5% higher than the series average for the Penguins' last Conference Final appearance in '09. Game 3 also drew a 21.9 rating in Boston, up 47% from the series average for the Bruins' Conference Final appearance in '11 (TRIBLIVE.com, 6/7).
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU: NBC's Pierre McGuire in a special to SI writes his location between the benches lets him "experience the Stanley Cup Playoffs ... from a perspective that no other vantage point allows." McGuire: "I'm a sponge, soaking up everything and trying to convey hockey's crazy tempo to viewers at home." There is "not another seat like it in any other sport." When NBC Sports Exec Producer Sam Flood "floated the idea of putting me at ice level eight years ago, I thought he would never get the NHL's consent." But hockey people are "not afraid to think outside the box in order to grow the game." McGuire: "I don't think it's any accident that ratings are up" (SI, 6/10 issue).