Ratings Roundup: Kings-Blackhawks Game 7 Is Most-Watched Non-Final NHL Playoff Game Ever

The Los Angeles Kings-Chicago Blackhawks Western Game 7 Western Conference Finals overtime thriller on Sunday night averaged 4.137 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Stanley Cup Final NHL Playoff game on record. The game also marks the most-watched NHL game ever on NBCSN and the most-watched non-Olympic program ever on NBCSN.

The Kinds 5-4 overtime win surpassed Game 7 of the 1996 Eastern Conference Final between the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins (ESPN, June 1, 4.049 million) as the most-watched non-Stanley Cup Final NHL playoff game on record. Kings-Blackhawks surpassed Game 3 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins (4.001 million) as the most-watched NHL game ever on NBCSN and the most-watched non-Olympic program ever on the network. It also had more viewers than USA-Russia (4.100 million) men’s ice hockey during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. NBCSN was the No. 1 network on cable during the game Sunday night. It was the second-most watched cable program of the day among average viewers, P18-49 (1.909) and P25-54 (2.111), trailing only HBO’s Game of Thrones. It also outperformed all broadcast programming among P18-49 and P25-54.The game peaked at 5.5 million viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET, and delivered a 2.35 HH rating.

The 22.7 HH rating in Chicago was the best Blackhawks game delivery ever on NBCSN. Los Angeles drew its best Round 3 metered market rating ever on NBCSN with a 4.8 rating. With the Rangers awaiting the winner in the Stanley Cup Final, New York delivered a 3.7 rating, its best rating on NBCSN ever for a non-Stanley Cup Final game that did not include a New York team.

Digitally, the NBC Sports Live Extra live stream delivered 142,033 uniques and 8,146,724 million minutes consumed, making it the best authentication-required NHL game ever in all key metrics and the best authenticated or unauthenticated game of the 2013-14 season in all key metrics.…

…NBC ratings took a major hit because of the involvement of a Canadian team – the Montreal Canadiens – on the Eastern Conference side. The team’s six-game series loss was averaging 1.58 million through five games (NBC earned 2.94 million viewers for the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals). Locally, however, New York and Montreal are doing very strong ratings. Game Five was the highest-rated NHL game in New York on NBC or the NBC Sports Network. In Canada, viewership for the series has also been strong. Overall, the ratings have increased by 24 percent, compared to the last time an Eastern Conference finals featured a Canadian team. (IBT)…

…The 2014 Eastern Conference Finals is the second most-watched Conference Finals ever on ESPN. The Heat’s six-game victorious series over the Pacers averaged 7,234,000 viewers (p2+), up 48% from the network’s coverage of the Conference Finals last year (4,898,000). Additionally, the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals averaged a 4.5 U.S. household rating, up 45% from last year’s corresponding series (3.1).

The success of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals propelled ESPN to win the night across all of television – cable and broadcast – for Game Three on Saturday, May 24, and for Game Four on Monday, May 26.  ESPN won the night in all key male demos and in the coveted P18-34 demo for every Eastern Conference Finals game on the network (Game Two through Game Six).

The Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN also experienced triple-digit growth on WatchESPN with a year over year increase of 246 percent vs. last year. Game Two saw the largest audience of the entire NBA regular season and playoffs on WatchESPN with 282,000 unique viewers and 13.5 million total minutes consumed…

…Meanwhile, TNT’s coverage of the 2014 NBA Western Conference Finals – the San Antonio Spurs defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games – averaged 6.8 million total viewers and a 4.2 U.S. HH rating, increases of 39% and 35% when compared with last year’s Western Conference Finals between the Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies (4.9 million total viewers; 3.1 U.S. HH rating).  TNT registered the top audience across all of cable television each game night throughout the six-game series, despite four lopsided outcomes. This year’s NBA Western Conference Finals on TNT generated the top two sports programs of the day across all of television five times throughout the series – each game telecast and the Sports Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA studio show. Additionally, TNT’s Western Conference Finals coverage netted significant increases across all key male demos with Men 18-34 and Men 18-49 both up 33% and Men 25-54 tallying increases of 30% over last year.

The network’s coverage of the Western Conference Finals Game 6 (Saturday, May 31) – San Antonio’s 112-107 overtime victory over Oklahoma City to close out the series – averaged 8.1 million total viewers and a 4.9 U.S. HH rating to deliver the top sports program of the day across all of television (cable and broadcast).  TNT’s Game 6 telecast is up 66% and 58% compared with last year’s Western Conference Finals. Game 6 peaked with 12.1 million total viewers and a 4.9 U.S. HH rating from 11:15-11:30 p.m. ET.  The game telecast is up 21% among total viewers and 17% in U.S. HH rating over the average for this year’s six-game series.  Locally, the telecast registered a 29.3 HH rating in San Antonio and a 25.2 HH rating in Oklahoma City. Following Game 6, TNT’s Inside the NBA delivered a 2.7 overnight rating from 11:45 p.m.-12:15 a.m. to net the second highest-rated sports program of the day (trailing only the game itself) across all of television…

…Real Madrid’s thrilling victory over Atletico Madrid in the 2014 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL on FOX on May 24 totaled 3.1 million viewers (when combined with the audience generated by FOX Deportes), making it the second most-watched since FOX began televising the prestigious European club competition in 2010, up 48% compared to 2013 (2.1 million). The only UEFA Final to combine for more viewers on both channels is the 2011 edition featuring Barcelona and Manchester United (4.2 million). The FOX broadcast delivered a 1.1/3 household rating/share with an average audience of 1.9 million viewers, +22% in rating and 36% in audience compared to last year’s Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund clash (0.9//2, 1.4 million) also on FOX. The match peaked at 2.2 million viewers from 5:00-5:15 PM ET during extra time.

FOX Deportes’ coverage was the No. 1 Spanish-language sports program for the day with 1.2 million Hispanic viewers. The match was FOX Deportes’ third most watched in network history and the highest rated since the 2011 UEFA final.  This year’s UEFA season was the most watched in the history of the tournament’s Spanish-language broadcast…

…Buoyed by the second and third rounds of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the conclusion to the Premier League season, and and the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, NBCSN in May registered its best-ever monthly primetime performance as well as the top Total Day non-Olympic month in the network’s history. NBCSN averaged 1.1 million primetime viewers in May (April 28-May 25) – marking the most-watched month in primetime in the network’s history and the first time nightly viewership averaged seven figures, according to live plus same day data released by The Nielsen Company. In addition, NBCSN established its primetime monthly record for Adults 18-49 (556,000 average viewers).  For the month, NBCSN ranked second among sports cable networks in average viewership and sixth in the Adult 18-49 demo – both highs for the network. NBCSN averaged 266,000 Total Day (6 a.m.-6 a.m.) viewers – ranking as the network’s most-watched non-Olympic month in Total Day and registering a 34% increase over last May.

In addition, Year-to-date, NBCSN’s Total Day performance (215,000 viewers) is up 134% from last year at this point (92,000). Year-to-date primetime viewership on NBCSN (415,000) has increased 33% from 2013 (312,000). May marks the ninth consecutive month that NBCSN has increased Total Day viewership from the prior year…

…Saturday (5/24) night’s COCA-COLA 600, the longest NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the year at 600 miles, posted a 4.1/9 household rating/share and 7.0 million viewers on FOX according to national figures released by Nielsen.  It was the most-watched sports telecast of the weekend, out-distancing Pacers-Heat on ESPN (6.8 million) and the Indianapolis 500 on ABC (5.9 million, according to Nielsen fast nationals).  The COCA-COLA 600 led FOX to be the No. 1 network in rating and audience in prime time among all broadcast and cable competition. The audience for the COCA-COLA 600 peaked at 9.3 million viewers at 10:30 PM ET.