Yup, for the NHL, these are stellar numbers. Of course, they don’t draw a candle to the NFL or even Major League Baseball, but for the sport which has been constantly been beat up in the media and by its own executives, this comes as good news. The season opening game on NBC, regional coverage split between Chicago-Los Angeles and Philadelphia-Pittsburgh drew the best regular season numbers for the National Hockey League dating back to when Fox had the contract. That’s a total of 14 years, and yes, before the 21st Century.
Saturday’s split coverage drew a 1.6 US household rating and an average of 2.77 million viewers. The last minutes of Philadelphia-Pittsburgh peaked at 3.82 million viewers.
These are the the most-watched regular season games on NBC excluding Winter Classic games.
Let’s look at what NBC is saying about the NHL.
SATURDAY’S “NHL ON NBC” BROADCAST IS MOST-WATCHED FOR NHL REGULAR-SEASON IN 14 YEARS, EXCLUDING WINTER CLASSICS
Regional Coverage of Chi-L.A. & Pit-Phi Scores 2.77 Million Viewers, Best Non-Winter Classic Regular-Season on Any Network Since 1999
Buffalo, Chicago, Columbus, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, & Phoenix All Score Record Ratings across NBC or NBC Sports Network
NEW YORK – January 23, 2013 – NBC’s coverage of the NHL on Saturday produced the league’s most-watched regular-season broadcast in 14 years, excluding Winter Classics, according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company.
Regional coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings, which saw the Blackhawks handily defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, 5-2, and the Pittsburgh Penguins victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1, was watched by 2.77 million viewers (1.6 HH rating).
Excluding Winter Classics, it is the most-watched NHL regular-season coverage on NBC since the network again began broadcasting the league in 2006, and the most-watched since three-game regional coverage on Fox in 1999 (4/18/99, 3.09 million).
The coverage on NBC (3:25-6:09 p.m. ET) peaked at 3.82 million viewers in the final minutes of the broadcast when most viewers were watching a one-goal Penguins-Flyers game. The Penguins scored an empty-net goal in the game’s final two minutes.
LOCAL RECORDS & MILESTONES
In addition to Saturday’s national success, eight markets set local ratings records or milestones for NHL regular-season coverage that aired either on NBC or NBC Sports Network, Saturday-Tuesday, excluding Winter Classics.
- Buffalo scored a 22.3 for the Sabres 5-2 victory over the Flyers on Sunday on NBC.
- Columbus posted a 2.5 rating for Monday night’s game on NBC Sports Network, which saw the Red Wings defeat the Blue Jackets, 4-3, in a dramatic shootout.
- Phoenix posted a 1.44 on Sunday night for the Blackhawks 6-4 win over the Coyotes on NBC Sports Network.
- New York posted a 0.77 for last night’s Devils 3-0 win over the Flyers on NBC Sports Network, which is the market’s best delivery on the channel for a Devils game in which they did not play either the Rangers or Islanders.
As previously announced, Pittsburgh (19.4), Philadelphia (7.8) and Chicago (6.6) scored best-ever NBC ratings in those markets for the NHL regular season for Saturday’s games, excluding Winter Classics. The 1.5 rating for Los Angeles for Saturday’s game was best for that market, excluding Winter Classics, since NBC’s NHL regional telecast on March 4, 2007 (Col-Det/Phi-Pit/Car-Atl; 1.8), and the market’s best-ever on NBC for a Kings game.
Final national ratings and viewership for Sunday’s Flyers-Sabres game on NBC, as well as Monday’s Red Wings-Blue Jackets game and last night’s Flyers-Devils game on NBC Sports Network, were not available at the time of this release.
That’s it for this post.