Stanley Cup Final Drawing Best Three-Game Average Since 2002

Through 3 games, the 2010 Stanley Cup Final are doing better than the successful 2009 Final.

The three telecasts, with Games 1 & 2 airing on broadcast NBC, and Game 3 airing on cable’s VERSUS, have averaged a 2.5 national rating, up 4% from the 2.4 the first three games drew last year, with the same network scheduling arrangement.  The 2.5 is up 36% from 2008, 64% from 2006, and a whopping 87% from 2007, when the arrangement was swapped, and Games 1 & 2 aired on VERSUS/OLN and Game 3 aired on NBC.

The average is the highest since the 2.7 drawn by the Detroit/Carolina series in 2002, which aired its’ first two games on ESPN and the third on ABC.  The 2.5 therefore makes it the second highest rated three-game average since 1999’s Buffalo/Dallas series, which aired its’ Game 1 & 2 on broadcast FOX, and Game 3 on ESPN.

Stanley Cup Final Averages Through Game #3 Since 1999
(NOTE: From 2000-2008, Games 1-2 aired on cable, in 1999, 2009 and 2010, they aired on broadcast)

2010 – 2.5
2009 – 2.4
2008 – 1.6
2007 – 0.6
2006 – 0.9
2004 – 1.1
2003 – 1.4*
2002 – 2.7
2001 – 2.1
2000 – 1.8
1999 – 3.0

* – Game #2 of the Stanley Cup Final’s national rating is unavailable, so we’re using the 1.1 cable rating the game drew.

Ron MacLean Helps Save Drowning Man In Delaware River

From The Province:

Ron MacLean helped save someone’s life today, helping pull a man out of the Delaware River on an off day in Philadelphia between Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup final.

MacLean couldn’t be reached on his cell phone, but his wife, Cari, confirmed the report when reached at the couple’s home in Oakville, Ont.

“There was already a man in the water helping someone who’d try to take his life and I don’t know if Ron jumped in, too, but yes, he was part of a team of two who saved someone’s life,” Cari MacLean said.

“That’s how Ron spent the afternoon on his day off.”

VERSUS #1 On Cable Last Night

NEW YORK, N.Y. (June 3, 2010)-VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, garnered a 3.1 national HH rating and averaged 3.6 million viewers for last night’s Stanley Cup Final Game 3 telecast.  The game made VERSUS the most-watched cable network in the country among total viewers, all key male demos and among Adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

It was the most-watched Final game on cable since 2002 and the highest-rated and most-watched telecast ever in network history, surpassing the net’s previous high set by Game 4 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final (2.8 HH rating and 3.448 million viewers).  The game peaked at a 4.3 HH rating and 5.051 million viewers between 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET.

Locally, VERSUS garnered a 17.7 HH rating and averaged 1.099 million viewers in Chicago and a 17.4 HH rating and 801,000 viewers in Philadelphia, making VERSUS the top-rated network overall-among both broadcast and cable-in both markets.  The local market ratings were the best ever for a Blackhawks or Flyers game on cable in both cities.

VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD).  Now in more than 75 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR).  VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming.  The network is home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including The Daily Line, Sports Soup and Sports Jobs with Junior Seau.  VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

NHL Pimps Merchandising, Ratings

NEW YORK (June 3, 2010) – The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a success by every measure with record TV ratings locally and nationally, huge gains across all digital platforms and surging measurable buzz on Google’s official blogspot (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/searching-for-2010-stanley-cup.html). That success has been mirrored with impressive results for NHL merchandise sales, online, at retail and in-arena, with total sales volume for the first three games of the Final having already surpassed the entire seven game Final last year. Some highlights:

· Total sales volume for the first three games is already up four percent over the entire seven game Final last year

· In-arena sales volume for the first three games have shown a 137 percent increase over last year and a 96 percent increase over 2008

· Among the Top selling items were: Stanley Cup commemorative program (PSP/NHL), Dueling Pucks (Sherwood), Official Game pucks (Sherwood) , Stanley Cup patches (National Emblem), Reebok “Draft Cap” with Final logo on the side and Ticket holder lanyards by Wincraft

· The NHL saw a 75 percent increase in sales over the same week last year on Shop.NHL.com driven by sales of Conference Champion merchandise

· Apparel sales for Stanley Cup Playoffs are up approximately 40 percent.

· Year to date playoff sales are up 26 percent on Shop.NHL.com

· The NHL Powered By Reebok Store sales from April 1 to present are up 15 percent over last year

· There has been huge demand for Reebok player identified Stanley Cup apparel

“The very devoted fans in both of these markets have shown tremendous support of their teams,” said Bryan Nosal, Senior Buyer, JC Penney. “Our hot market results have been beyond our expectations thus far and we anticipate exceptional results for whichever team wins.”

VIEWERSHIP ON NBC BEST ON NETWORK TV IN 13 YEARS

Through two games on NBC, the Stanley Cup Final is averaging 5.16 million viewers, the highest for the first two games on U.S. broadcast television since 1997 (5.69 million, FOX). The 5.16 million viewers is a 7 percent increase over last year (4.82 million). Viewership in the advertiser coveted demos of Men 18-49 and Men 25-54 are the highest since 1999. And Game 2 of the Final attracted 5.89 million viewers, the most since records have been kept (since at least 1975). Note: VERSUS will release its national viewership and ratings later this afternoon.

NHL SCORES ON GOOGLE

Google’s Official Blog is reporting strong search demand for the Stanley Cup Final, with searches for the event, teams and players surging globally, and especially in the participating markets where NHL terms are the most popular among all sports-related search terms.

PRONGER VIDEO DRIVES HUGE GAIN IN VIDEO STARTS

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:

· Video starts Wednesday on NHL.com were up a remarkable 876 percent as fans flocked to the site to see highlights of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Chris Pronger’s “puck heist” at the end of the game, was the most-watched video of the day.

· For the first four days of the Stanley Cup Final, page views are up 85 percent over last year and video starts are up 299 percent

· For the first 49 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 156 percent over last year

· Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 29 percent

· Page views are up 51 percent

· Mobile page views are up 180 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

· 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)

· 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).

· 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

Stanley Cup Final Game 3 Draws 2.0 National Rating, 3.6 Million Viewers

From John Ourand of SBD:

SBD: Last night’s Stanley Cup Game 3 was most viewed telecast in Versus’ 15-year history. It pulled a US 2.0 rating/3.6M viewers.

This is up 15% from last year’s Game #3, which drew a 1.7 for Detroit/Pittsburgh.  It is also only down 17% from the 2.4 Game #3 on NBC, which also pitted Detroit against Pittsburgh.  It also ties or exceeds the network rating (ABC or NBC) for Game #3’s in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007.


Report: Game 3 Ratings Up 35% From 2009, Potentially Most Viewed Since 2002

According to NHL Live on NHL Network, Game #3 of the Stanley Cup Final on VERSUS drew a 2.59 national cable rating, which would mark a ratings record for the network, and potentially tie a cable ratings milestone for the NHL.

The 2.6 cable rating is up 35% from VERSUS’ broadcast of the Detroit/Pittsburgh Game #3 last season.  It is up 8% from the national rating for Game #3 in 2008, which was aired on NBC.  Since national ratings are typically larger audiences than cable ratings, you have to hold back on saying it drew a bigger rating.  If the viewer numbers are bigger for VERSUS, however, Game #3 would be the highest rated Game #3 since 2002, when Detroit/Carolina drew a 3.3 on ABC.

The rating potentially ties the 2.6 Carolina/Detroit Game #2 drew on ESPN in that very same 2002 series, and would tie it for second all-time for the NHL on cable (Game #7 of the 1994 Vancouver/NY Rangers series drew a 3.5 on ESPN).  I’ll know more as the day goes on, and we should have more official numbers around 4PM, according to the NHL.  But this initial report from NHL Live signifies a huge evening for the league.

Game 3 National Ratings Shortly, But Here’s NBC’s Release For Game 5

NEW YORK – June 4, 2010 – NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final resumes this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5. The Blackhawks lead the series, 2-1. Game 4 is scheduled for Friday night in Philadelphia. If Chicago wins Game 4, they will have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on home ice with a victory in Game 5 on NBC Sports. If Philadelphia wins, the series will be tied heading into the crucial fifth game.

Dan Patrick joins NBC Sports’ coverage as event host for Game 5 from United Center in Chicago. He will also host Games 6-7, if necessary. Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), who is calling his 12th Stanley Cup Final, Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) will call the action. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick.

EMRICK: “I am so impressed with the athletes in this Final. Training camp began for these teams in September. The Blackhawks started their season in Finland, were in first place in November and never let up. The Flyers started in Raleigh, were next to last in the conference but rallied back to make the playoffs on the last day of the season. Then throw in the Olympics and the playoffs. It’s impressive to me the level of performance we are seeing and the sacrifice. It’s true athleticism.”

MCGUIRE: “The series is becoming more and more physical. The teams are building a little disdain for each other. They only played once during the regular season and the animosity levels are up. Forechecking has become an important weapon for Philadelphia and that leads to exciting hockey because of collisions and turnovers. You can see that Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are getting more comfortable for Chicago. The crowd will be a big factor for the Blackhawks on Sunday.”

VIEWERSHIP: The 2010 Stanley Cup Final Game 2 between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers – played on Memorial Day – was watched by 5.89 million viewers making it the most-watched Stanley Cup Game 2 on record and up 10 percent compared to 2009’s Game 2 (5.35 million; Detroit vs. Pittsburgh), which was not played on Memorial Day weekend. Game 2 also posted a 3.3/6 rating, tied with 1999 as the highest-rated Game 2 in 35 years (3.5/13 on NBC, 1975, Buffalo vs. Philadelphia) and up six percent vs. last year (3.1/5).

Game 1 viewership of 4.43 million was the most watched in 11 years (5.07 on Fox, 1999, Buffalo vs. Dallas) and up three percent vs. 2009 (4.29). Game 1 registered a 2.3 rating, equal to Game 1 last year. Hockey helped NBC win the night (A18-49) in primetime both nights.

REMAINING SCHEDULE: Games 4 will be played at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center and will air on VERSUS tomorrow night. In addition to Game 5, NBC Sports will broadcast Games 6-7, if necessary. Following is the remaining Stanley Cup Final television schedule (all times ET):

Game 4 – Fri. June 4, VERSUS, 8 p.m.

Game 5 – Sun. June 6, NBC, 8 p.m.

Game 6 * – Wed. June 9, NBC, 8 p.m.

Game 7 * – Fri. June 11, NBC, 8 p.m.

*If necessary

Move to VERSUS Affects Chicago Ratings Negatively

The ratings for Game #3 of the Stanley Cup Final on VERSUS showed ratings well down from Game #2 in the nation’s #3 TV market, but up from Game #1.

The game, which the Blackhawks lost 4-3 in Overtime, scored a still strong 17.6 overnight rating for VERSUS in the market, averaging more than 618,000 households.  This is down 30% from the 25.1 rating NBC drew in Chicago for Monday night’s Game #2 broadcast.  It is up 5% from the 16.8 rating for Game #1 on NBC.  It is also up 35% from the previous high for VERSUS ratings in Chicago, an 11.5 for Game #3 of the Western Conference Final vs. San Jose.

During the series, the Chicago market has averaged a 19.8 rating for the series.

In this Corner… Ron MacLean. In this corner… Gary Bettman

VERSUS to Air Strasburg’s Final Minor League Start Live This Afternoon

Looking to check out pitching prospect spawn of Jesus and Nolan Ryan, Stephen Strasburg before he gets to the Major Leagues?  Well, Strasburg’s last AAA-class start for the Syracuse Chiefs against New York Mets-affiliated Buffalo Bison will air on national TV live today at 1:00 PM ET.  I know what you’re thinking, it must be ESPN or ESPN2 or TBS or FSN or one of the many other MLB TV partners.

Nope.  It’s VERSUS.

That’s right, VERSUS will air its’ first baseball telecast since the 2008 Cal Ripken World Series when Strasburg takes the mound today.  They will also rerun the telecast at 7:00 PM.  It will be the second foray into minor league sports for the network, as they also aired a weekly game from the NBA D-League this year.  It’ll be the first professional baseball telecast in the network’s history, though it’ll likely be simulcasting a feed from a local cable network, as Bisons play-by-play man has the call with analyst Duke McGuire.