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Volume 25 No. 28
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NHL Regular-Season Viewership Rebounds On NBC, NBCSN; Wednesday Windows Strong

NBC and NBCSN both saw audience gains for NHL regular-season broadcasts in '15-16. NBC averaged 1.55 million viewers for its 11 telecasts. That figure is up from 1.46 million viewers last season, but down from 1.68 million viewers in '13-14. The gain for NBC comes despite the net having its smallest audience yet for a Winter Classic. Canadiens-Bruins on New Year's Day drew only 2.78 million viewers, down from 3.47 million viewers for Blackhawks-Capitals last season. Meanwhile, NBCSN saw regular-season gains for the first time since the lockout season of '12-13. The net's 378,000 viewers for 94 games was up 8% from 349,000 viewers last season, and up from 351,000 viewers in '13-14. The 378,000 viewers is the cable net's best full regular-season figure yet, but is below the 392,000 viewers the net had during the shortened '12-13 campaign. It also is the NHL's best full season average on cable since ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 474,000 viewers in '93-94. "Wednesday Night Rivalry" games saw an 8% uptick for NBCSN. The 24 exclusive games averaged 608,000 viewers, up from 565,000 last season. Buffalo led all markets for NBC and NBCSN telecasts with a 1.2 local rating, followed by Boston with a 1.1 rating. On NBCSN alone, Pittsburgh led all markets with a 1.0 local rating, while St. Louis ranked second with a 0.9 rating.

NHL REGULAR-SEASON AUDIENCE TREND ON NBC
SEASON
TELECASTS
VIEWERS (000)
'15-16
11
1,545
'14-15
13
1,457
'13-14
13
1,683
'12-13*
13
1,473
'11-12
12
1,580
'10-11
11
1,621
'09-10
10
1,560
'08-09
10
1,530
'07-08**
10
1,400
'06-07
9
1,344
NHL REGULAR-SEASON AUDIENCE ON NBCSN
SEASON
TELECASTS
VIEWERS (000)
'15-16
94
378
'14-15
91
349
'13-14
88
351
'12-13*
57
392
'11-12
90
332
'10-11
53
348
'09-10
52
297
'08-09
54
318
'07-08
56
272
'06-07
58
212

NOTES: * = Lockout shortened season (no Winter Classic). ** = First season with Winter Classic.