NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Viewership Continues Climb; Blackhawks Clincher on NBC Up 33%
via NHL release:
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS VIEWERSHIP CONTINUES TO CLIMB
Blackhawks Clincher On NBC Sports Up 33 Percent
NHL.com Ranks Second in Growth Among All Sites from March to April
NEW YORK (May 24, 2010) – NBC Sports’ coverage of yesterday’s decisive Game 4 between the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, earned a 2.0 overnight rating and a 5 share, a 33 percent increase over last year (Detroit/Chicago, 1.5/4), as Chicago advanced to its first Stanley Cup Final in 18 years by completing a sweep of San Jose. Hockey-mad Chicago delivered a 14.1/32.
Saturday’s Philadelphia Flyers/Montreal Canadiens Game 4 earned a healthy 1.6/4 (no comparison in 2009). The Philadelphia market delivered a 12.0/27. Both games won every half hour against competition from the other networks.
Top Five NHL Markets on Sunday:
1. Chicago – 14.1
T2. San Jose – 4.4
T2. Buffalo – 4.4
4. Philadelphia – 2.7
5. Detroit – 2.1
Top Five Non-NHL Markets on Sunday:
1. San Diego – 2.8
2. Sacramento – 2.5
3. Richmond – 2.2
T4. Indianapolis -1.9
T4. Las Vegas – 1.9
Top Five NHL Markets on Saturday
1. Philadelphia- 12.0
2. Buffalo – 4.2
3. Pittsburgh – 3.6
4. Chicago – 2.0
5. Boston – 2.0
Top Five Non-NHL Markets on Saturday:
1. San Diego – 2.0
2. Indianapolis – 1.8
T3. Greenville-Spartanburg – 1.7
T3. Las Vegas – 1.7
5. West Palm Beach – 1.6
FIRST TWO ROUNDS ON VERSUS MOST-WATCHED IN HISTORY
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).
The 1.0 HH rating and average viewership (1.041 million) for the second round were up 25 percent and 28 percent, respectively, over last year’s Conference Semifinal (.8 HH rating and 816,000 viewers). Throughout the duration of the Conference Semifinal, VERSUS ranked as a top 10 cable network in primetime viewership (8-11 p.m.) among Adults 18-49 and 25-54 and was one of the top five most-watched cable networks among Men 18-49 and 25-54.
NBC and VERSUS have combined for the most-watched first two rounds since 1997 (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2).
DIGITAL STRATEGY PAYS DIVIDENDS
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:
- For the first 40 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 148 percent over last year
- Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 31 percent
- Page views are up 50 percent
- Mobile page views are up 183 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 (see chart below).
comScore’s Top 10 Gaining Properties by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors (U.S.)
April 2010 vs. March 2010
1. MLB.COM – 67%
2. NHL.com Network – 35%
3. Buzzle.com – 19%
4. chachha.com – 16%
5. The Mozilla Organization – 15%
6. The Home Depot, Inc. – 12%
T7. Vevo – 11%
T7. Ford Motor Company – 11%
T7.. Examiner.com Sites – 11%
T7. Conduit.com – 11%
TV MILESTONES IN THE 2010 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Combined, NBC and VERSUS averaged 742,000 viewers per telecast, the most for the first round since ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 averaged 750,000 viewers in 2000 and a 24-percent increase over last year.
- VERSUS’ average viewership of 595,000 for the first round of the playoffs was the best for the NHL on U.S. cable in nine years (ESPN/ESPN 2, 608,000 in 2001).
- Game 2 of the Detroit/San Jose series averaged 1.772 million viewers, making it VERSUS’ most-watched Conference Semifinal game in network history and the most-watched second-round game on cable in a decade (Colorado/Detroit, May 1, 2000 on ESPN, 1.926 million).
- The Washington-Montreal Game 7 was the highest rated (1.2 HH rating) and most watched (1.2 million viewers) Conference Quarterfinal game ever on VERSUS, and the most watched Conference Quarterfinal game on U.S. cable since Minnesota-Colorado in 2003 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