NBC Sports Net Scores Highest-Rated NHL Telecast with Game 7 of Chicago-Detroit

Conference Semifinals Rank as Most-Watched across Cable and Broadcast 5/31/2013 4:04 AM Eastern

NBC Sports Network’s coverage of Game 7 of the Western Conference between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings netted the service its highest-rated NHL game to date.

Chicago’s 2-1 win over fellow Original 6 team Detroit in overtime garnered a 2.07 rating, according to Nielsen data, and averaged 3.354 million viewers, making it the most-watched semifinal game ever on cable (data available since 1994).

The May 29 telecast now ranks as highest-rated non-Stanley Cup Final game on cable since May 29, 2002, when Detroit-Colorado averaged a 2.09, and was up 109% from a 0.99 for last year’s sole semifinal Game 7 -- the New York Rangers’ defeat of the Washington Capitals.

Average viewership grew 99% percent to 3.35 million – the network’s third-best NHL mark behind Stanley Cup Finals matchups from 2010 and 2009 -- from 1.68 million for Rangers-Caps.

The telecast peaked at a 2.83 rating and 4.6 million viewers between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m. (ET).

Game 7 between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings on NBC Sports Network averaged 1.4 million viewers and was the most-watched Western Conference Semifinal game not involving Chicago or Detroit, since 2001 (1.7 million for Colorado-Los Angeles on April 30, 2001). The May 28 telecast peaked with 2 million viewers in the 11:30 p.m. quarter hour.

All told, the 24 NHL semifinal games on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC combined to average 1.5 million viewers, and now stand as the most-watched for this playoff round across broadcast and cable (data available since 1994).

The 2013 NHL semifinals on NBC averaged 2.36 million viewers, 27% more than last year’s 1.85 million. Coverage of the conference semifinals on NBC Sports Network averaged 1.435 million viewers, up 12% from  1.29 million in 2012, while CNBC averaged 1.37 million viewers, a 207% surge from  444,000 a year ago.

Together, NBC Sports Network and CNBC averaged 1.43 million viewers, up 20% compared to last year's 1.19 million and were the most-watched on cable ever.

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