NBC Ratings Up 4% for Stanley Cup Playoff First Round


Most-Watched NHL Stanley Cup First Round on Cable Since 2012; Most-Streamed First Round in History.

On the strength of a record 18 overtime games, dazzling performances by young stars like Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid, and side-by-side coverage for the first time in local markets, NBC Sports Group’s Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of the first round of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged 742,000 viewers, up 4% vs 2016 (713,000 viewers).

This was the most-watched first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2014 (753,000 viewers), despite no Game 7 matchups for the first time since the 2001 postseason. In addition, the 2017 first round featured five Canadian teams – compared to no Canadian teams last season.

TAD for the first round across cable and digital – NBCSN, USA Network, CNBC, NBC Sports.com, and the NBC Sports app – averaged 574,000 viewers, up 10% vs. 2016 (520,000 viewers), and the highest for the cable schedule since 2012 (632,000 viewers). TAD measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the average minute audience for television and digital.

Additional first-round ratings highlights:

  • Sunday’s Game 6 of the Toronto-Washington series on NBCSN (7-10:15 p.m. ET) produced a TAD of 1.162 million viewers to rank as NBCSN’s most-watched first-round game ever featuring a Canadian team;
  • The Toronto-Washington six-game series produced a TAD of 769,000 viewers to rank as the most-watched first-round series on cable featuring a Canadian team since 2011 (Chicago-Vancouver; 787,000 viewers; seven games);
  • Saturday’s Game 6 of the Canadiens-Rangers series on NBC was the most-watched game of the first round with a Total Audience Delivery of 2.079 million viewers. Viewership peaked from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET with 2.445 million average viewers;
  • The first round set streaming records for NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Across 39 games, the first round delivered records for uniques (62K) and minutes (3.4 million) per game, up 17% and 16% vs. 2016, respectively, and totaled 798K uniques and 134.2M live minutes, both up 19% compared to the first round in 2016 (668K; 112.5M).

Following are the Top 10 local markets across all networks from the first round:

1. Buffalo 2.04
2. Minneapolis-St. Paul 1.64
3. St. Louis 1.62
4. Nashville 1.16
5. Providence 1.09
6. Philadelphia 1.04
7. Chicago 0.98
8. Boston 0.96
9. Pittsburgh 0.95
10. West Palm Beach 0.92

First-round viewership was bolstered by side-by-side coverage in local markets. For the first time since NBC Sports Group acquired NHL rights prior to the 2005-06 season, coverage of Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round games on NBCUniversal cable networks (NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network) as well as NHL Network, aired side-by-side in local markets alongside regional sports network telecasts.

In addition, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app provided streaming coverage of every first-round game on NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, and USA Network. Prior to this season, NBC Sports’ national first-round cable telecasts were blacked out in all local U.S. markets (local television and streaming blackouts still applied in Boston and Pittsburgh in the first round).