Penguins-Flyers produced best playoff opener ratings in 10 years

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The high-wattage star power of a Philadelphia Flyers-Pittsburgh Penguins series, unprecedented overall game coverage and a night full of twists and turns manifested itself in some great ratings to kick off the 2012 playoffs on Wednesday. The NHL provided a press release full of promising numbers from the first two nights of postseason puck-viewing, so here are some of the highlights.

  • Wednesday’s trio of contests (two on NBC Sports Network, one on CNBC) represented a 34 percent increase from last year’s ratings on what was then called Versus.
  • Overall ratings during the first two days (Wednesday and Thursday) represented a 22 percent increase from last year. Interestingly enough, Thursday’s trio of OT games was the first since 2001.
  • Again, the Flyers-Penguins thriller made the biggest impact. The press release captures the impressive numbers quite nicely, so here’s the excerpt:

Viewership for Wednesday night’s opening round game featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and rival Philadelphia Flyers was up 83% from last year’s comparable opening night contest. It was the most-watched opening night playoff game in 10 years, a span that includes seasons when ESPN was the national U.S. rights holder.

In other words … No, it’s not just you. The playoffs have been electric so far. Here’s to many more nights like the first two during the next two-or-so months – even if it might be a little exhausting at times.