Flyers/Pens Draws Best Cable Numbers with Game 5

Well, you can count NBC along with the city of Pittsburgh among those saddened that the Pittsburgh Penguins weren’t able to force a Game 7.

The Penguins Game 5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday drew 1.07 million viewers. That tops Wednesday’s Game 4, which had the previous high watermark for the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 1.03 million. The game drew an 0.5 rating in the Adults 18-49 demographic, tying for seventh that night on cable.

The four NBC Sports Network broadcasts from the Penguins/Flyers series averaged 936,000 viewers. Aside from last year’s Chicago/Vancouver series, no first round series has ever seen that kind of success on VERSUS or NBCSN. The four broadcasts from the series are, for now, the four most-watched broadcasts from the Conference Quarterfinals on cable.

Top 10 Most-Watched Games of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Cable

1. Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5 (4/20/12, NBCSN): 1.07 million
2. Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 4 (4/18/12, NBCSN):
1.03 million
3. Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh, Game 1 (4/11/12, NBCSN): 847,000
4. Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh, Game 2 (4/13/12, NBCSN): 795,000
5. New Jersey vs. Florida, Game 2 (4/15/12, NBCSN): 768,000
6. Vancouver vs. Los Angeles, Game 3 (4/15/12, NBCSN): 749,000
7. Vancouver vs. Los Angeles, Game 4 (4/18/12, NBCSN): 748,000
8. Chicago vs. Phoenix, Game 2 (4/14/12, NBCSN): 725,000
9. Ottawa vs. NY Rangers, Game 2 (4/14/12, NBCSN): 708,000
10. Boston vs. Washington, Game 4 (4/19/12, NBCSN): 683,000

(Source: TV By the Numbers)


Your Announcers and Open Thread for Night 13 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NY Rangers vs. Ottawa, Game 6, 7:00 p.m. ET

Canada National TV: CBC
Play by Play: Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Cassie Campbell

US National TV: NBCSN
Play by Play: John Forslund
Inside the Glass: Brian Hayward

New York Local: MSG

Phoenix vs. Chicago, Game 6, 9:00 p.m. ET

US National TV: CNBC
Play by Play: Dave Strader
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Canada National TV: TSN
Play by Play: Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Mike Johnson

Phoenix Local: FS Arizona

Chicago Local: CSN Chicago

Predators Breaking Local TV Records

From the Nashville hockey club’s website:

The Nashville Predators are off to a great start in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning a first-round matchup against the Detroit Red Wings in five games to earn a trip to the second round for the second consecutive season. But Nashville’s on-ice performance hasn’t been the only success: A record number of area TV viewers are tuning in to watch the Predators’ quest for the Stanley Cup.

For Game 4 of the Detroit series, the Predators broadcast on SportSouth drew a 5.0 rating in the Nashville market—the highest ever for a Predators-produced broadcast. In layman’s terms, that equates to 51,000 households and 117,300 viewers. Series-clinching Game 5, also broadcast on SportSouth, beat that, registering a 5.2.

Games 1 and 2 (also on SportSouth) drew a 4.5 and 3.8 rating, respectively. Game 3, which was televised nationally on NBC, drew a 4.4 rating in the Nashville market.

Prior to the 2012 playoffs, the previous Predators broadcast record was 4.8. That mark was set first on May 9, 2011, for Game 6 of the Predators-Canucks second-round series in lasts season’s playoffs. A 4.8 rating is equivalent to 115,000 viewers.

Bruins/Capitals Draws Huge Local Ratings

The NHL will be sorry to see one of two markets between Boston and Washington exit the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as both drew record-setting numbers for Sunday’s Game 6.

The game drew an 8.6 in Washington, a new record for a non-Stanley Cup game in the market. Washington’s only advance to the Final was in 1998. It drew better numbers than the 2011 Winter Classic, which scored a 7.9 in Washington.

Game 6 drew a massive 16.3 rating in Boston, again, a record for a non-Stanley Cup Final game (at least since 1993). It also outdrew the Bruins participation in the Winter Classic in 2010, which drew a 14.4 when it was held in Boston.

(Source: NBC Sports)

Bruins/Caps Draws Best Overnight Rating Since 1998; Pens/Flyers Hits Series High

Credit it to the rain, instead of blaming for once. The NHL on NBC had another record-setting weekend, continuing it’s best hot streak ever.

Sunday’s Bruins/Capitals, Game 6 drew a 2.5 overnight rating, topping the Winter Classic on January 2nd for the best ratings for hockey so far this season. It also scored the best rating for a non-Final Stanley Cup Playoff game since 1998, when Game 4 of the Western Conference Final between Dallas and Detroit drew a 2.6. Aside from the first four Winter Classics, it is the highest-rated non-Final hockey game ever broadcast by NBC since they regained the rights in 2006. It is also up 56% from the comparable game last year (PHI/BUF, G6, 4/24/11: 1.6) and up 62% from two years ago (PHX/DET, G6, 4/25/10: 1.3).

Earlier Sunday, the Penguins and Flyers topped their terrific Game 3 ratings in an earlier timeslot, as Game 6’s Philadelphia clinching drew a 2.4 overnight. This was up 38% from last week’s Noon ET game (NSH/DET, G3: 1.5). It is now tied as the second-highest playoff overnight since 1998.

What perhaps makes this jump so surprising is that Game 5 of the series, broadcast Saturday afternoon, was fairly pedestrian by comparison. Game 5 drew a 1.5 overnight rating, equal with last Saturday’s broadcast of Game 2. This could be explained by the fact that it went up against Yankees/Red Sox on FOX. The telecast is still up 15% from last year (NYR/WSH G5, 4/23/11: 1.3) and the year before (CHI/NSH G5, 4/24/10: 1.3). Overall, a fantastic weekend and a fantastic first round for NBC.

NBC averaged a 1.9 for six first-round broadcasts. That is up 32% from the 1.3 NBC averaged for last year’s four first-round broadcasts, and easily the best the network has ever drawn for the Conference Quarterfinals.

Stanley Cup Playoff Ratings on NBC Since 2006

April 14 – Washington vs. Boston, Game 2:
April 15 – Nashville vs. Detroit, Game 3:
April 15 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 3:
April 21 – Washington vs. Boston, Game 5:
April 22 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 6:
April 23 – Boston vs. Washington, Game 6:

Apr. 16 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 2: 
Apr. 17 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 3: 
Apr. 23 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 5: 1.3
Apr. 24 – Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, Game 6: 1.6
Apr. 30 – Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 1: 1.5
May 1 – Detroit vs. San Jose, Game 2: 1.6
May 21 – Boston vs. Tampa Bay, Game 4: 1.5
May 22 – Vancouver vs. San Jose, Game 4: 1.3
Average: 1.4

Apr. 17 – Boston vs. Buffalo, Game 2: 
Apr. 18 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 3: 1.5
Apr. 24 – Nashville vs. Chicago, Game 5: 1.3
Apr. 25 – Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 6: 1.3
May 1 – Philadelphia vs. Boston, Game 1: 1.6
May 2 – Montreal vs. Pittsburgh, Game 2: 1.6
May 16 – Chicago vs. San Jose, Game 1: 1.7
May 22 – Philadelphia vs. Montreal, Game 4: 1.6
May 23 – San Jose vs. Chicago, Game 4: 2.0
Playoff Average: 1.5


Apr. 18 – NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 2: 1.0
Apr. 19 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 3: 1.7
Apr. 25 – Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia, Game 6: 1.2
Apr. 26 – Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 6: 1.0
May 2 – Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 1: 1.4
May 3 – Anaheim vs. Detroit, Game 2: 1.3
May 17 – Chicago vs. Detroit, Game 1: 2.0
May 24 – Detroit vs. Chicago, Game 4: 1.5
Playoff Average: 1.3

April 12 – Nashville vs. Detroit, Game 2: 
April 13 – Philadelphia vs. Washington, Game 2: 
April 19 – Philadelphia vs. Washington, Game 5: 
April 20 – Detroit vs. Nashville, Game 6: 
April 26 – Colorado vs. Detroit, Game 2: 
April 27 – NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh, Game 2: 
May 4 – NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5: 
May 17 – Dallas vs. Detroit, Game 5: 
May 18 – Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5: 1.7

April 14 – Regional Coverage (PIT vs. OTT, NYR vs. ATL): 
April 15 – Calgary vs. Detroit, Game 2: 
April 21 – Calgary vs. Detroit, Game 5: 
April 22 – New Jersey vs. Tampa Bay, Game 6: 
April 28 – San Jose vs. Detroit, Game 2: 
April 29 – Buffalo vs. NY Rangers, Game 3: 
May 5 – San Jose vs. Detroit, Game 5: 
May 6 – Buffalo vs. NY Rangers, Game 6: 
May 19 – Ottawa vs. Buffalo, Game 5: 
May 20 – Anaheim vs. Detroit, Game 5: 1.4

April 22 – Regional Coverage (NYR vs. NJ, COL vs. DAL): 
April 23 – Regional Coverage (EDM vs. DET, SJ vs. NSH): 
April 29 – Regional Coverage (NJ vs. NYR, EDM vs. DET): 
April 30 – Regional Coverage (PHI vs. BUF, COL vs. DAL): 
May 6 – New Jersey vs. Carolina, Game 1: 
May 7 – Colorado vs. Anaheim, Game 2: 
May 13 – Carolina vs. New Jersey, Game 4:
May 20 – Buffalo vs. Carolina, Game 1: 

(Source: Sports Media Watch)

Why the Western Conference Second Round Won’t Be a Disaster… Even if We Get Preds/Coyotes

Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times mentioned last night, after the Los Angeles Kings had slayed the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal, that Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinal between the Kings and St. Louis Blues – the only conference semifinal match-up already determined – could start Friday. As some have pointed out, there’s an equal chance that said series could start on Saturday, as Scottrade Center is booked for Van Halen on Sunday, which would split up a series that will already have to deal with two basketball tenants when it gets out west a bit too early.

Still, if it starts on Saturday, one would think that the two markets justify an NBC appearance. Even if the Rangers make it to round two, a second round matchup against Florida or New Jersey doesn’t seem most appealing. Either way, the Flyers taking on the Capitals or Bruins would almost definitely be the more attractive Eastern Conference series, and usually NBC will show a series from both conferences once we hit round two.

So imagine, this Saturday on NBC: “Hey America, two teams you’ve never seen before!”

Now this isn’t entirely fair to them, since the Blues got a regional slot on Hockey Day in America, but before that, neither had appeared on NBC since 2007, back when they still did regional scheduling each week. In fact, the two teams actually played each other on NBC in January of 2007. Since then, the Kings appeared once in April of that year, and neither club has sniffed NBC afterwards. Not that they necessarily deserved to, but it remains a bit of a bugaboo for the league: building a national footprint west of Chicago.

You’ll hear a lot of people turning their noses up at the potential for a Kings-Blues and – even worse – Predators/Coyotes second round. Even a Chicago comeback to save things for the league would still get shot down a bit. The NHL hasn’t had a second round without Detroit since 2006, and they don’t want ratings to go back to where they were when that happened. That said, I don’t think there’s much to fear here, or at least not much to fear any more than a Panthers/Senators series, which remains a very viable possibility.

Besides, it’s probably not even worse for American television than last year’s crop. You had a popular mid-western team (Detroit) against a middling, big-market, west coast team (San Jose), while the Predators played a team with no impact on American ratings. This year, you’ll get – at worst – a popular mid-western team (the Blues, who are setting massive ratings records), against a middling, big-market, west coast team (Los Angeles), and the Predators taking on a club that, while weak, will still make more of a mark on US television than a Canadian team in Phoenix. Getting Chicago in would be gravy, but it’s far from a disaster.

Last year’s Canucks/Predators series average a fairly weak 610,000 viewers over six games on VERSUS. That was with Nashville – a small, southern American market – against a team whose viewership didn’t count in US ratings. Even more damning, the Nashville market was only exclusive to VERSUS for about half the series. This year, NBCSN and CNBC (along with NBC) get exclusivity starting with the second round. Add a second American market that you hope will finally believe a little in it’s team winning their first playoff series in decades, and you’re almost guaranteed to beat that number. Again, if Chicago shows up, that number gets crushed even more.

Los Angeles-St. Louis will be facing a slightly more difficult hill to climb in a Detroit-San Jose series that went seven games last year. Again, NBC Sports Network has the advantage of full exclusivity, whereas VERSUS had only two games a series. Red Wings/Sharks averaged 1.03 million viewers over six games on VERSUS, with Game 2 drawing a 1.6 overnight rating on NBC. While the national network viewers may not take to Los Angeles and St. Louis, you have to build an audience for these teams somewhere. I think – with full exclusivity and huge support in St. Louis – a Blues/Kings series could top that. It may not hit the dizzying highs of the 1.6 million viewers for Game 5 of Red Wings/Sharks, but I believe if the series goes long, there shouldn’t be too big a problem.

Trust me, there’ll be a lot of complaining over nothing here. What really needs to be worried about is finding a way to convince people to tune into a Florida/Ottawa series, or a potential Philadelphia-Ottawa and New Jersey-Washington second round in the East. Solve that problem later, the Western Conference will be just fine. Even if the numbers aren’t fantastic, like I said, you must start building somewhere. That Detroit team ain’t gettin’ any younger.