NBC Sports Network, driven by more live programming overall and a strong showing by the National Hockey League playoffs in particular, scored the most-watched quarter in its history during the period ended June 30.
The national cable sports service averaged 633,000 in primetime during the second quarter, according to Nielsen data, a 17% jump from the 539,000 in the corresponding span in 2012. NBC Sports Network also tallied a 14% advance among persons 18 to 49 in the daypart.
Gauged on a total-day basis, NBCSN averaged 153,000 watchers in the second quarter, the most ever for the service outside of last year’s third quarter, when it presented action from the London Olympics. Second-quarter 2013 delivery was 20% more than its 128,000 mark in the year-earlier period. The net recorded an 18% gain with the aforementioned demo.
Year to date, network viewership grew 13% in primetime and 14% in total day compared to the first half of 2012.
Live second-quarter programming was highlighted by the NHL postseason, including Games 2 and 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, Formula One racing, IndyCar, Major League Soccer, pre-game and post-game studio programming, and such fare as The Dan Patrick Show and Pro Football Talk.
The 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs set new records for NBCSN, averaging 1.21 million viewers for 55 games, up 17% from 1.03 million over 52 contests in 2012. The service’s 2013 postseason coverage was crowned by the top two and three of the five most-watched NHL games in its history: Stanley Cup Final Game 3 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins (4 million viewers); Stanley Cup Final Game 2 (3.96 million); and Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals between Chicago and the Detroit Red Wings (3.35 million).