NHL Chimes in On NBC Ratings

NEW YORK (June 1, 2010) – NBC Sports’ coverage of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final earned the best overnight rating (4.1 rating and 7 share) for a Game 2 on record (NHL overnight data prior to 1975 is unavailable) and was up 21 percent over last year (3.4, Game 2, Detroit vs. Pittsburgh). The broadcast peaked at a 4.7/8 from 10:30-11 p.m. ET. The Chicago market delivered a 25.1/39, while Philadelphia earned an 18.5/29.

The Stanley Cup Final on NBC again won the night, as it did Saturday for Game 1, finishing No. 1 in primetime (2.4, Adults 18-49).

“These historic viewership numbers are the result of compelling stories and great play on the ice, two markets on fire for their teams, terrific coverage by NBC and Versus and a season’s worth of unprecedented fan engagement on multiple platforms across North America,” said NHL COO John Collins.

Last night’s milestone comes on the heels of healthy ratings for Game 1, which earned the best overnight rating for a Game 1 in 11 years. The 2.8 overnight rating and 6 share was the highest since 1999 (Buffalo vs. Dallas, 3.7 on Fox).

Canada also scored big for Game 1 of the Final with CBC equaling its best Game 1 audience since 1994 (3.16 million).

NBC’s two-game average overnight rating is a 3.5, the best for the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final in 11 years (3.8 on Fox in 1999, Buffalo vs. Dallas) and up 17 percent over last year (3.0).

Top 10 Markets for First Two Games on NBC

1. Chicago – 21.0

2. Philadelphia – 15.9

3. Buffalo – 8.8

4. Pittsburgh – 4.5

5. Indianapolis – 4.0

6. Detroit – 3.8

7. Ft. Myers – 3.5

8. Las Vegas – 3.3

T9. Orlando – 3.2

T9. Columbus – 3.2

T9. St. Louis – 3.2

NON-NHL MARKETS SHOWING HUGE INCREASES

Three non-NHL markets have shown triple digit rating increases for the first two games of the Final led by Seattle, which has seen a remarkable 213 percent rise. Kansas City (+140%) and Memphis (+120) have also earned substantial gains.

DIGITAL STRATEGY PAYS DIVIDENDS

The NHL is engaging and connecting with more fans than ever on its digital platforms and the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs has continued that trend. Some highlights:

· For the first three days of the Stanley Cup Final, page views are up 77 percent over last year and video starts are up 185 percent

· For the first 48 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 148 percent over last year

· Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 28 percent

· Page views are up 50 percent

· Mobile page views are up 182 percent

· April was the most trafficked month in the history of NHL.com in terms of unique visitors surpassing 17 million

· NHL.com ranked as the number two site in terms of percentage change in unique visitors from March to April according to comScore.

TV MILESTONES IN THE 2010 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

· VERSUS’ coverage of the first two rounds of 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the most-watched first two rounds on cable on record with an average of 775,000 viewers for the 54 telecasts (Stanley Cup Playoff cable viewership became available by Nielsen for the 1994 playoffs)

· NBC and VERSUS have combined for the most-watched first two rounds since 1997 (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2)

· Game 1 of the Blackhawks-Sharks series on NBC earned an 11.2 rating in Chicago, beating the Cubs, White Sox and Boston-Orlando broadcasts combined

· On Thursday April 22, the Blackhawks, with 278,000 viewers in Chicago, prevailed over some tough local competition: Bulls (255,000 viewers, playoff game against Cleveland and LeBron James), NFL Draft (138,000) and the Chicago Cubs vs. NY Mets (137,000 viewers)

· The Flyers Game 7 victory over the Bruins was the most watched Flyers game in Comcast SportsNet history with an 11.7 rating and 345,000 households, topping the previous record set two days earlier.

· CBC’s coverage of Game 7 between the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins drew an average audience of 4.24 million viewers, ranking as the sixth largest Stanley Cup Playoff audience in CBC history.

· On French language RDS, the Canadiens-Penguins Game 7 was the most-viewed NHL telecast in the network’s history with 2.69 million viewers.

· The game also scored on FSN Pittsburgh averaging a 26.4 HH rating, the highest-rated game ever on the network. At one point 43 percent of all households in the Pittsburgh DMA were tuned into FSN.

· There were three major Boston-area sports events televised on May 7 and Game 4 of the Bruins-Flyers series scored the best numbers, earning an 8.3 local Nielsen rating (328,000 viewers) on Versus in the Boston metered market besting the Yankees-Red Sox matchup on NESN, which earned a 6.3 local rating (223,000 viewers) to finish in second, while Game Three of the Cavaliers-Celtics NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals earned a 4.1 local rating (142,000 viewers) on ESPN.

· TSN’s audience of 2.8 million for the Washington-Montreal Game 7 was the highest audience ever recorded for an NHL game on TSN and was the most-watched program on Canadian television Wednesday night in all key demographics.

· The Montreal-Washington series ranks as the most-watched playoff series ever on TSN (any round) with an average audience of 1.8 million viewers over seven games.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NHL’S RECORD-BREAKING BUSINESS SUCCESS IN 2009-10

· Corporate sponsorship was up 20 percent

· New League partners this season include Geico, Starwood Hotels, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, LG Electronics and Hershey’s Canada

· Ad spending on NHL® media increased by 37 percent over last season

· NHL.com ad revenue is up 50 percent over last year

· Revenue from big event platforms, led by the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, are up 22 percent over last season

· Unique visitors to NHL.com surpassed last year’s record by 32 percent

· NHL Game Center Live™ subscriptions were up 25 percent

· NHL Network subscribers have increased by 104 percent

· Sales at SHOP.NHL.com were up 12 percent from last year’s record

· Viewership for NBC’s Game of the Week telecasts were up 13 percent

· Ratings for exclusive telecasts on Versus were up 20 percent

· NHL Mobile™ reached 1.6 million page views, an increase of 233 percent over last season

Source: Nielsen Media Research US and Nielsen Media Research Canada / BBM

NHL Announces Media Awards For HHOF Induction

TORONTO (June 1, 2010) — Bill Hay, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, announced today that MARC DE FOY, who has covered hockey in Montreal for more than 30 years, will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for hockey journalism.

Hay also announced that RON WEBER, the original play-by-play voice of the Washington Capitals, will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

Marc de Foy is a 28-year veteran in one of the most competitive hockey-writing markets in the world – Montreal. During that time de Foy has earned the respect of his colleagues by routinely breaking stories and by consistently producing honest and accurate copy. He is described by fellow Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award winner Yvon Pedneault as “a strong, diligent and hard working beat writer, more concerned with telling the story than being part of the story”. For the past 16 months, Marc has been following the Canadiens and the NHL for ruefrontenac.com.

“In Montreal’s challenging, highly competitive media market, Marc de Foy has been a standout performer for more than two decades,” said Kevin Allen, president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. “He’s an old school reporter who breaks big stories on a regular basis. He is a man known for his classy approach, his work ethic and his devotion to telling stories accurately and professionally.”

When the Washington Capitals joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1974, Baltimore Clippers play-by-play announcer Ron Weber was hired to be the voice of the NHL’s newest franchise. The Lock Haven, Pennsylvania native called every one of the team’s record-breaking 67 defeats that year. Over the next 23 years Weber never missed a regular season or playoff broadcast, talking Capitals fans through 1,936 consecutive games.

“Ron has been a key contributor to the growth of NHL hockey interest in the D.C. area over his two-plus decades as the original voice of the Capitals,” said Chuck Kaiton, President, NHL Broadcasters’ Association. “He is very worthy of this honour.”

Weber and de Foy will receive the awards at a luncheon presentation on Monday, November 8, 2010. This year’s Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend will take place November 5th to 8th, culminating with the Induction Ceremony beginning at 7:00 P.M. (EST) on Monday, November 8.

The 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees will be announced on Tuesday, June 22, following the annual Selection Committee meeting that same day. Please visit HHOF.com for first-year eligible players for induction in 2010.

Named in honour of the late Montreal newspaper reporter, the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award was first presented in 1984 by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association in recognition of distinguished members of the hockey writing profession whose words have brought honour to journalism and to the game of hockey.

The Foster Hewitt Memorial Award is named in honour of the late “Voice of Hockey” in Canada. It was first presented in 1984 by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association in recognition of members of the radio and television industry who have made outstanding contributions to their profession and to the game of hockey.

About HHOF: Established in 1943, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a museum and place of entertainment offering state-of-the-art exhibits, multimedia presentations and educational programming from its premises at Brookfield Place, Toronto, Canada where its operations have flourished since June 1993. Its mandate is to recognize and honour the achievements of individuals who bring special distinction to the game of hockey, and to collect, preserve and exhibit objects, images and resource materials connected with the game as it is played in Canada and throughout the world.

NBC’s Press Release on Game 2 Ratings

NEW YORK – June 1, 2010 — Last night’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final registered the best overnight rating for a Game 2 on record. The 4.1 overnight rating and 7 share for the Philadelphia Flyers-Chicago Blackhawks Game 2 is higher than all other Stanley Cup Final Game 2’s since 1975. NHL overnight data prior to 1975 is unavailable. NBC again won the night, as it did Saturday for Game 1, finishing No. 1 in primetime (2.4, A18-49).

Game 2 posted a 21-percent increase over last year’s Game 2 (3.4) between the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins, featuring Sidney Crosby.

Last night’s game peaked at a 4.7/8 in final half-hour. Chicago led all markets with a 25.1 rating and 39 share. Philadelphia followed with an 18.5 rating and 28 share.

The two-game average overnight rating for Games 1 and 2 is a 3.5, the best two-game average overnight rating for the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final in 11 years (3.8 on Fox in 1999, Buffalo vs. Dallas,) and up 17 percent over last year (3.0).

Top 10 Markets

1. Chicago 25.1/39

2. Philadelphia 18.5/28

3. Buffalo 10.2/16

4. Indianapolis 6.3/10

5. Pittsburgh 4.9/8

6. Detroit 4.4/7

7. Seattle 4.1/9

8. Denver 3.8/7

T9. Ft. Myers 3.7/6

T9. Las Vegas 3.7/6

NBC Sports: Game 2 Ratings Best Since At Least 1975

NBC Sports reports that the 4.1 overnight rating is the highest ever recorded.  Those numbers go back to 1975, as overnight data prior to then is unavailable.  For the second game in a row, NBC finished #1 in primetime among Adults 18-49.  The overall rating is up 21% over 2009’s Game #2 (3.4) and, as we know, peaked at the 10:30 PM ET half-hour.

Through two games, NBC has averaged a 3.5 overnight rating for the Stanley Cup Final, the best two-game average since 1999’s Dallas-Buffalo series on FOX.

Game 1 Draws 3 Million to CBC

From William Houston:

In Canada, the CBC, without the advantage of a Canadian team participating, drew a pretty good 3.164 million viewers. The pre-game show was watched by 989,000.

For round three – the two conference finals – CBCSports.ca had 356,000 views for the online streams. That’s a 600 per cent increase over 51,000 in 2009.

So we have 7 million viewers across North America for Game 1.

This is Disturbing as Hell

NBC Scores Nearly 6 Million with Stanley Cup Final Game 2

Again, Mr. Marc Berman from Mediaweek:

Over at NBC, game two of The Stanley Cup Finals (Philadelphia at Chicago) finished third overall in the metered markets, with an above-average 4.1/ 7 from 8-11 p.m. Take a look at the half-hour breakdown:

Stanley Cup Finals (NBC)
8:00 p.m. – Viewers: 4.60 million (#3), A18-49: 1.6/ 5 (#2t)
8:30 p.m. – Viewers: 5.70 million (#3), A18-49: 2.2/ 7 (#2)
9:00 p.m. – Viewers: 5.79 million (#3, A18-49: 2.4/ 7 (#3)
9:30 p.m. – Viewers: 6.54 million (#3), A18-49: 2.7/ 7 (#1t)
10:00 p.m. – Viewers: 5.89 million (#2), A18-49: 2.5/ 7 (#1)
10:30 p.m. – Viewers: 6.94 million (#2), A18-49: 2.9/ 8 (#1)

The 5.91 million viewers is up 11% from last year’s 5.31 million viewers.  NBC finished third in total viewers and first in the coveted Adults 18-49 demographic for the evening, with a 2.4, up 9% from 2009’s 2.2 for Game 2.  As you can see, the game peaked at 10:30 PM ET with 6.94 million viewers and a 2.9 among adults 18-49.  Overall, terrific news for the NHL on a night where not much was expected of them.  It’s only a shame that NBC might not have another chance to televise hockey this season.  However, it is great news for VERSUS.

Chicago Ratings a Massive 25.1 For Game 2, Philadelphia Up to 18.5

From Phil Rosenthal:

One in four Chicago homes, on average, were tuned into WMAQ-Ch. 5’s broadcast of the Blackhawks’ 2-1 Game 2 Stanley Cup finals victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, according to overnight numbers from Nielsen Media Research.

The 25.1 household rating locally translates to nearly 879,000 area homes, and means a 39 percent share of those with their TVs on were watching throughout as the Hawks grabbed a 2-0 lead at home in the best-of-seven National Hockey League championship series on NBC.

Channel 5’s Game 2 telecast peaked in the final quarter-hour as the Hawks held on to win. Between 9:45 p.m. and 10 p.m., 32.7 percent of homes in the Chicago market (nearly 1.15 million homes) and a 48.8 percent share of those households watching TV had the game on.

The game drew an 18.5 percent household rating and 28 percent share of the viewing audience in Philadelphia, according to the overnight figures.

That’s a less dramatic increase from Game 1, which did a 13.2 rating and 25 share in the City of Brotherly Shove even with the Phillies’ Roy Halladay locking up the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball’s modern era opposite the first period of the Hawks-Flyers Stanley Cup opener.

In Chicago, Game 2 also was a winner with the demographic groups advertisers tend to prize most. Channel 5’s broadcast was No. 1 among all viewers age 18 to 49 (20.8 rating, 46 percent share), all viewers 25 to 54 (21.4, 45), plus women 18 to 49 (17.3, 40) and 25 to 54 (17.7, 39), and men 18 to 49 (24.3, 52) and 25 to 54 (25.2, 51).

BREAKING: NBC Draws Huge 4.1 Overnight for Game 2

The NHL On NBC coverage of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final drew a 4.1/7 overnight rating on Monday night, up 15% from last year’s Sunday night broadcast between Detroit and Pittsburgh, which drew a 3.5/6.

More from Marc Berman of Mediaweek:

Over at NBC, game two of The Stanley Cup Finals (Philadelphia at Chicago) finished third overall in the metered markets, with an above-average 4.1/ 7 from 8-11 p.m. Take a look at the half-hour breakdown:

Stanley Cup Finals (NBC)
8:00 p.m.: 3.5/ 6 (#3)
8:30 p.m.: 4.0/ 7 (#2t)
9:00 p.m.: 3.8/ 6 (#3)
9:30 p.m.: 4.4/ 7 (#3)
10:00 p.m.: 3.9/ 6 (#2)
10:30 p.m.: 4.8/ 8 (#2)

The 4.1 rating is higher or as high than every NBC telecast of the 2009 Final, except for Game 7.  It ties with Game 6 of the 2009 series as NBC’s third highest-rated NHL telecast since regaining the rights to air the league’s games in 2004, behind Game 6 of the 2008 series and the aforementioned Game 7 of the 2009 series.  More to come.

VERSUS vs. NHL Network for Post-Game Supremacy, and the Huge Mistake That Made the Choice Much Easier

You and I, the American puckhead (Sorry, another exclusionary post, Canadian hockey fans) aren’t used to options (aren’t you glad this is exclusionary, Canuckle-heads?  You get all the fun!  I’ll stop writing in parenthesis now).  Up until last year, your only choice after the NBC coverage of a Stanley Cup Final game – the pinnacle of our sport – ended at 11:00 PM ET on the dot was NHL Network… if you get NHL Network.  If you don’t, you’d need to turn to NHL.com or some other source, maybe some passing Melrose-isms on ESPN or ESPNNews.  It was slim pickings, to the point where you got to be thrilled when VERSUS aired a post-game show after it’s broadcasts.

Well, this year is a bit different.  Not only has the NHL Network gotten better penetration for it’s typically hour-long post-game coverage, but VERSUS has jumped into the fray, starting its’ coverage the second NBC signs off from the game telecast, and lasting until about 11:40 PM ET.  It makes for some interesting contrasts and – since NHL Network’s coverage airs in a continuous cycle throughout the night – a chance to get up to two hours of post-game coverage of every Stanley Cup Final event. Nevermind which you think is better… this is fantastic overall for hockey fans.  If only NBC could throw up a post-game show on it’s digital channel, we’d get to NBA Finals level saturation.

So let’s judge them against each other anyway after the jump.

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