NBC Has the Most-Watched First Round Ever on Broadcast and Cable

NEW YORK – April 27, 2012 – On the strength of a record 16 overtime games, 32 one-goal games, and a new television format that televised every first-round game nationally for the first time, the Conference Quarterfinals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs delivered record-setting viewership. According to Fast National data released today by The Nielsen Company, the 2012 Conference Quarterfinals:

Averaged 929,000 viewers across NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC, making them the most-watched first round on record (cable data not available prior to 1994);

Averaged 744,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network, making them the most-watched in NBC Sports Network history (formerly VERSUS), up 16% from last year (642,000), and the highest on a cable channel in 11 years (ESPN, 745,000 in 2001);

Averaged 2.57 million viewers on NBC for six broadcasts, up 39 percent compared to last year (1.85 million, four games), and making them the most-watched on a broadcast network in 14 years, since Fox averaged 2.76 million viewers in 1998 (two games);

Reached 30.9 million total viewers across NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC, (excluding last night’s two Game 7s), up 29% vs. last year (23.9 million).

In addition to the success of the Conference Quarterfinals as a whole, a number of single games also broke records or set milestones. Following are the top-performing games on each channel:

NBC: Capitals-Bruins Game 6 on Sunday, April 22, averaged 3.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Conference Quarterfinal game since the advent of Nielsen People Meters (1987).

NBC Sports Network: The 1.32 million viewers for Wednesday night’s Capitals-Bruins Game 7 made it the most-watched first-round game on cable in 12 years, since 1.51 million viewers watched San Jose-St. Louis Game 7 in 2000 (ESPN). It was also up 43 percent vs. last year’s comparable game (926,000; Was-Mon, Game 7) and was the most-watched first-round game in NBC Sports Network (formerly VERSUS) history.

CNBC: Coverage of the Conference Quarterfinals on CNBC peaked with 621,000 viewers for Coyotes-Blackhawks Game 6 on Monday, April 23. There is no comparison to last year as this is the first year that all NHL playoff games are being televised nationally.

Game 7s: Last night’s two Game 7s delivered strong viewership for NBC Sports Network. The Senators-Rangers game, in which the Rangers won, 2-1, in regulation, went head-to-head with the NFL Draft on two networks and was watched by 984,000 viewers on the NBC Sports Network, up 6% vs. last year’s comparable game (926,000, Bos-Was, Game 7).

The Devils-Panthers contest that saw the Devils advance, 3-2, in double overtime, began on NHL Network and then was simulcast on NBC Sports Network once the Senators-Rangers game had concluded. Devils-Panthers averaged 867,000 viewers for the portions of the game that aired on NBC Sports Network with no joined-in-progress comparison to last year.

NBCSports.com: NHL Extra, which live streams games broadcast on NBC, is up 233% in visits, 208% in unique users, and 276% in live starts over last year. Visitors are also staying on the site 288% longer than last year. During the Conference Quarterfinals, ProHockeyTalk experienced record traffic with 445,000 unique viewers, 526,000 visits, and 1.5 million views.

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About Steve Lepore
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5 Responses to NBC Has the Most-Watched First Round Ever on Broadcast and Cable

  1. DM says:

    Did any of the Game 7’s have exclusivity anywhere? I know you probably have those somewhere but I’m incredibly lazy.

  2. colton says:

    interesting to see how the next round will compare. If a Bruins/Caps game 6 from the first round can get 3.5 million viewers, what will a Flyers/Devils or NYR/Caps game 6 draw in the second round? 5 million?

    • eddie says:

      I agree the possibility is there, though nba is starting their postseason now. But NBC must be happy their going to continue to give the NHL more expsoure. Also, were a little closer to maybe a nyr/l.a final and record ratings!

  3. colton says:

    all the game 7 teams had local broadcasts of the games. New york had 400,000+ households on msg last night.

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