If you’ve been curious just how well things have been going ratings-wise with the NHL on NBC, we can let you know that business is picking up quite nicely.
Turns out the action on the ice is getting noticed and more fans are tuning in than in previous seasons. From last weekend’s action in the NHL playoffs, numbers were up all over the board.
Last Sunday’s Game 2 between Detroit and San Jose from HP Pavillion in San Jose that saw the Sharks win 2-1 and take a 2-0 series lead on the Red Wings found its way to 2.25 million viewers, good for a 24% improvement over the comparable Pittsburgh-Montreal game last season. That game saw 1.81 million viewers. The audience for this year’s game is the best audience for an NHL Playoff Conference Semifinal game in three years since Sunday May 8, 2008 (Rangers-Penguins overtime game earned 2.33 million viewers).
Last Saturday’s Game 1 between Philadelphia and Boston that saw the Bruins knock off the Flyers 7-3 brought in 1.9 million viewers, a 19% improvement on last year’s Bruins-Flyers overtime game that netted 1.6 million.
The two games broadcast on NBC last weekend averaged 2.1 million viewers and proved to be a 24% increase on the comparable weekend last year (1.7 million average). NBC’s overall coverage in the playoffs is averaging 1.93 million viewers and is ahead of 2010’s coverage by 13% after six games.
TV audiences don’t always just appear overnight, especially for a sport that’s been fighting to win fans back since the crippling lockout of 2004. Things are getting better and now that coverage of the playoffs and the Stanley Cup final are locked into the same home for the next ten years, it’s hopeful that the rise in ratings and in notoriety for the game will continue to rise with it.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that we’re part of the NBC SportsTalk network of blogs and that we’re all part of the NBC Sports family, so it’s all good news to us and a reminder of who pays our bills too.