Stanley Cup Playoffs: NBC Sports Network Scores 17% Gain


With several high-profile contests yet to be decided on the ice and tallied in Nielsen homes, NBC Sports Network has scored a 17% audience increase through the first 12 days of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
NBCUniversal's national cable sports service averaged 691,000 viewers through the telecasts of April 22, up from 591,000 at the corresponding stage of the 2011 postseason, according to Nielsen data.
That figure doesn't include Game 6 coverage of the New York Rangers' 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on April 23 that forced a decisive seventh game in New York on April 26. NBC Sports Network is also sitting on Game 6 of the New Jersey Devils-Florida Panthers tonight, as well as Game 7 of the defending champion Boston Bruins' battle with Alex Ovechkin's Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
Should the Devils' prevail tonight, the NHL will have a pair of Game 7s on Thursday, with the Rangers-Senators in a winner-take-all match at Madison Square Garden. Times and network assignments have yet to be posted.
On the broadcast side of the glass, NBC's April 22 presentation of Game 6 in which the Bruins knotted the Caps at the Verizon Center scored with 3.52 million viewers, the most-watched NHL playoff game -- excluding Stanley Cup Final contests -- since May 25, 1997, when Fox's telecast of the Rangers-Philadelphia Flyers Eastern Conference Final match played before 3.61 million viewers.
NBC's 3.52 million watchers for Bruins-Capitals stands as the most-watched early-round NHL Playoff game in Nielsen People Meter history, dating back to 1993, according to officials at the Peacock network.
All told, 22.76 million had watched the NHL Playoffs on NBC, NBCSN, and CNBC (Game 6 of Phoenix's win over Chicago aired on April 23), through April 22, a 37% advance from 16.58 million over the same period last year.