NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Boost NBCSN To Primetime Audience Record In May
The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue to pay dividends for NBCSN. The cable net had its best monthly primetime audience on record in May, fueled by the NHL Conference Semifinals and Conference Finals. The net averaged 1.11 million viewers in primetime for the month, marking the first time it has crossed the 1 million viewership mark. On a total-day basis (24 hours), NBCSN averaged 268,000 viewers, marking the net’s best non-Olympic monthly figure on record. NBCSN drew 2.18 million viewers for Kings-Blackhawks Game 5 on Wednesday night, which went to double OT. That audience marks the most-viewed Western Conference Final matchup on cable TV in five years and is up 79% from the last WCF Game 5 in '12 (Kings-Coyotes, 1.22 million viewers). The telecast drew a 16.3 local rating in Chicago, which is the market's second-best WCF rating ever on NBCSN, trailing only the 16.6 local rating for Blackhawks-Kings Game 2 last season (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
MY KIND OF TOWN: In Chicago, Ed Sherman writes NBC "will be rooting for the Blackhawks to pull off the comeback" and win their series with the Kings. Chicago technically is the nation's No. 3 TV market, but thanks to the "avid following" for the Blackhawks, "the town is a clear-cut No. 1 in terms of delivering hockey viewers." Before Thursday's Rangers-Canadiens Game 6, the N.Y. market was averaging a 4.1 local rating for Rangers games during the playoffs, while L.A. averaged a 1.7 for Kings games. Meanwhile, Chicago "checks in at a robust 13.4 for Hawks playoff games." The Blackhawks' "drawing power also goes beyond Chicago," as they "might be No. 1 in terms of national appeal." The Rangers "also are up there," and NBC and the NHL "salivate at the notion of a second straight Original 6 Final" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/30).