NHL opening night draws record numbers for NBCSN

1 Comment

The Flyers, Bruins, Sharks and Kings combined for a ratings bonanza last night on NBC Sports Network.

From the NBC Sports Group:

Wednesday Night Rivalry’s Philadelphia Flyers-Boston Bruins matchup (7:27-10:06 p.m. ET) delivered 956,000 viewers and a 0.57 household rating, making it the most-watched opening night game on cable on record (data available since 1993) and the highest-rated NHL regular-season game ever on NBCSN. The game also set live streaming records for uniques and minutes consumed.

The second game of the doubleheader, featuring the San Jose Sharks against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings (10:06 p.m. ET – 1:14 a.m. ET), averaged 446,000 viewers, the most ever on NBCSN for an NHL regular-season “late” game (puck drop after 9 p.m. ET), excluding last season’s Ducks-Kings outdoor game at Dodger Stadium.

Combined, the doubleheader averaged a 0.43 household rating and 679,000 viewers, making it the best NHL opening night doubleheader on record (data available since 1993), and up 19% and 13%, respectively, vs. the most-recent opening night doubleheader to begin the 2011-12 season (0.36 HH rating; 601,000 viewers).

Viewers showed up in record numbers to watch a pair of pretty entertaining games. The B’s and Flyers engaged in a competitive tilt for entire 60 minutes of regulation; only a Chris Kelly marker with less than two minutes remaining kept the game from going to overtime. (Boston won, 2-1.)

In Los Angeles, the defending Stanley Cup champs raised their second banner in three years, but ran up against a determined Sharks team looking to make amends for last year’s opening-round playoff collapse. The Sharks finished with a convincing 4-0 victory and, afterward, discussed how big the game was — even though it was only the first of 82.

“It’s been a long summer thinking about this game,” Tommy Wingels said, per NHL.com. “When the schedule came out and this was our first game the media loved it, the fans loved it, but us players loved it too.

“Not a better way to start the season.”