A pair of Game 7 wins delivered a pair of Nielsen performances that haven't been recorded on MSG Networks in more than a decade.
The New York Rangers' 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden scored a 5.74 household rating and 424,000 homes in the New York DMA, according to Nielsen data. The April 26 telecast was the highest-rated Rangers game since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on June 14, 1994, which skated to a 16.18 mark as the Broadway Blueshirts hoisted the Cup for the first time in 53 years.
MSG+s presentation of the New Jersey Devils' 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers in double overtime Thursday night registered a 1.70 household rating and 126,000 homes in the New York DMA. That was the best for a Devils' telecast since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 7, 2001, which netted a 2.39 mark.
The Rangers-Senators Game 7 telecast on MSG reached its peak during the 9:30 p.m. quarter hour with an 8.49 rating and 627,000 households. The telecast also scored against a bevy of key demos: a 4.08 adult 25-54 rating, a 5.94 mark with men 25 to 54, a 3.19 persons 18-34 rating, and a 4.31 with guys 18 to 34. Those demo deliveries were the best for a Rangers' telecast since May 2004, when Nielsen switched to the Local People Meter rating system in New York.
Additionally, MSG's coverage of Game 7 dominated the New York market in three demos during primetime and total day. MSG's primetime (7-11pm) coverage averaged a 3.12 adult 25-54 rating, topping all other
broadcast and cable networks during that time period, including ABC's 2.97, Fox's 2.62 and ESPN's 2.60 average (SportsCenter/NFL Draft), according to officials at the programmer. MSG's 5.94 male 25-54 rating and 4.31 guys 18-34 mark were also the best across all programs on broadcast and cable networks in the Big Apple environs from 6 a.m. through 2 a.m.
Over seven games, MSG's coverage of the Rangers-Senators averaged a 3.84 household rating, a 59% jump from the 2.41 during the 2009 first- round matchup against the Washington Capitals, which was the last time the club's series went the distance (Games 2 and 6 were carried by NBC; the other five were on MSG).
Gauged against the 2010-11 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals when the Rangers faced the Capitals in a five-game set (three games on MSG), this year's first- round ratings increased 34% to a 3.84 from a 2.87 among households; 12% to a 2.41 from a 2.15 among adults 25 to 54; and 18% to a 1.89 persons 18-to-49 mark, from a 1.60.
With the NHL's new national rights deal, the first round marks the end of game coverage for all regional sports networks. For the Eastern Conference Semifinals, MSG Networks will produce postgame shows for all Rangers games and Devils home contests.