Stanley Cup Playoffs draw most-watched first round in seven years on NBC
The first round of North American ice hockey’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs was the most watched in seven years across the NBC Sports Group’s platforms, according to Nielsen and digital data from Adobe Analytics.
The coverage of the opening round across NBC Sports’ cable platforms produced the most watched first round on cable in 25 years.
Across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, the 45 Stanley Cup Playoff first round games averaged a combined viewership of 778,000, the most since 2012, when 936,000 viewers tuned in.
It was also NBC Sports’ third most-watched first round ever, since 2006, and up one per cent from 769,000 last year.
NBC Sports’ cable coverage of the first round across its platforms averaged 673,000 viewers, up 18 per cent from last year’s figure of 572,000, which is the second most-watched opening round on cable on record after 1994, when cable sports broadcaster ESPN generated 702,000.
The increase in viewing figures has been attributed to the first round containing 10 overtime games and three games going to a deciding game seven in a winner-takes-all scenario.
The opening round matchup between the Carolina Hurricanes and defending champions Washington Capitals concluded earlier this week after going to double-overtime in game seven.
The game, which the Hurricanes won 4-3, attracted 1.75 million viewers, making it the most-viewed first round game on record and up 18 per cent from NBCSN’s previous record of 1.484 million set by last year’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.
This was also an increase of 16 per cent from the previous overall record of 1.514 million set in 2000 on ESPN.
The Hurricanes and Capitals’ game seven also peaked at 2.522 million TV-only viewers at the conclusion of the first of the two overtime periods.
The game also produced an average minute audience of 105,800 viewers for its live stream across NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, which represented the most-streamed first round game in Stanley Cup Playoff history.
NHL’s 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs also produced the most streamed opening round with 1.3 million unique streams, 270.6 million minutes and an average minute audience of 33,800.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs is now in the second round stage and will culminate with the Finals in June.