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Volume 26 No. 178
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NBC Sees Overnight Ratings Decline For Its First Telecasts Of '15 NHL Playoffs

NBC had its first telecasts of the '15 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs over the weekend, and the overnight ratings look to have declined from the same period in '14, which aired over Easter weekend. Penguins-Rangers Game 2 led the way with a 1.7 overnight, which marked the first NHL opening round playoff game on primetime TV in decades. Earlier on Saturday, Red Wings-Lightning Game 2 drew a 1.1 overnight, down from a 1.6 for Blackhawks-Blues Game 2 last year. NBC yesterday also drew 1.6 overnight for Predators-Blackhawks Game 3 in the late afternoon window, down from a 1.8 for Red Wings-Bruins last year. Capitals-Islanders in the early afternoon window on NBC drew a 1.2 overnight, down from a 1.6 for Flyers-Rangers (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

AMERICA'S GAME? The AP's Rachel Cohen noted it had been three decades since USA Network last broadcast an NHL playoff game before last Wednesday when the net "aired two games as hockey's postseason opened," and more coverage is planned for tomorrow and Wednesday night. NBCSN is the "main home of the early rounds, but additional games had been aired on CNBC," and USA this year "took over some of those matchups." USA Net in the '80s "was an early cable home for big-time sports," from MLB to the NBA to college football. USA Net President Chris McCumber said that it was "too soon to say whether USA would again pursue sports rights on its own, separate from a broader NBC effort." For USA, and for the NHL and NBC Sports, the attraction "is to reach new viewers." USA Net was the country's "most popular cable network last week in prime time" and has a "broader reach" than NBCSN (AP, 4/17).