Stanley Cup Playoffs Are Second-Most Watched Since 2006

Stanley Cup Playoffs Are Second-Most Watched Since 2006

On the strength of an NHL record 93 postseason games - including 46 one-goal games and 26 overtime games - a new playoff format that emphasized divisional rivalries, and a Stanley Cup Final that featured the nation's two largest media markets, the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs became the second-most watched NHL post-season since NBC and NBCSN began their exclusive coverage in 2006, according to Fast National data provided by The Nielsen Company. Every game was televised nationally by the NBC Sports Group.

In addition, the Stanley Cup Final, won in five games by the Los Angeles Kings over the New York Rangers, was just the fifth Final in 20 years to average more than 5.0 million viewers. Digitally, NBC Sports Live Extra delivered live stream records in virtually all metrics for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Final and Game 5.


NBC, NBCSN and CNBC combined to average a 0.87 HH rating and 1.445 million viewers, ranking the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs as second-most watched since 2006, the year NBC and NBCSN began their most-recent run of exclusive playoff coverage, and the fourth-most watched on record (since data became available in 1994). In the past 20 years, the 2014 post-season only trailed 1996 (1.564 million on Fox/ESPN), 1997 (1.523 million on Fox/ESPN), and 2013 (1.471 million).

CABLE: For the 77 playoff games telecast on NBCSN and CNBC, the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged a 0.66 HH rating and 1.098 million viewers, ranking as the most-watched NHL playoffs on cable in 17 years (1997, 1.211 million viewers on ESPN/ESPN2).

This year's average viewership was up 10% from the 2013 cable average of 1.000 million viewers (0.60 HH rating).


The 2014 Stanley Cup Final, which ended in five games, delivered a 3.01 HH rating and averaged 5.001 million viewers, making it just the fifth Stanley Cup Final on record (since data 1994) to average at least 5.0 million viewers. It was also the most-watched Final on record that did not include either the Chicago Blackhawks or Detroit Red Wings. Games 1-2 and Game 5 aired on NBC, while NBCSN televised Games 3-4.

Following are the five most-watched Stanley Cup Finals since 1994 (viewers):

1. 2013: Chicago/Boston, 6 games (5.753 million)
2. 1997: Detroit/Philly, 4 games (5.289)
3. 2010: Chicago/Philly, 6 games (5.167)
4. 2002: Detroit/Carolina, 5 games (5.113)
5. 2014: New York/Los Angeles, 5 games (5.001)

Overall, the 2013 and 2012 Stanley Cup Finals both went to six games. This year's Final was up 64% and 66% vs. 2012 (1.83 and 3.012), the last time the Kings appeared in the Final, and down 9% and 13%, respectively, vs. 2013 (3.31 and 5.753), which was the most-watched Stanley Cup Final on record.


As previously announced on Saturday, the thrilling Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, in which the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 in double overtime, averaged 6.0 million viewers; making it the most-watched Game 5 in six years and helping NBC win the night in primetime, according to Fast National data from The Nielsen Company. Los Angeles and New York both scored their second-best local-market ratings ever for an NHL game on NBC or NBCSN.


As previously released, Friday night's Game 5 (8:13 p.m. - 12:47 a.m. ET) delivered a 3.7 HH rating and 6.0 million viewers, making it the most-watched Stanley Cup Final Game 5 since the triple-overtime fifth game of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final between Pittsburgh and Detroit (6.2 million, NBC).

Viewership was up seven percent vs. Game 5 on NBC last year between Chicago and Boston (5.6 million). It was also up a remarkable 82% compared to the fifth game of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, which also featured the Kings (vs. Devils) and was a potential Cup-clinching game (3.3 million).

The game peaked at over 8.5 million viewers from 12-12:30 a.m. ET.


Los Angeles delivered a 12.4 rating, ranking as the market's second-best rating ever on NBC or NBCSN and up 41% vs. Game 5 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final (8.8), which was a potential Cup-clinching game. Friday night's game trailed only the Cup-clinching Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final (13.6) as the most-watched in the L.A. market's history for an NHL game on NBC or NBCSN.

New York also scored its second-best NHL rating ever on NBC or NBCSN with a 10.4 rating. It only trailed another double-overtime game, Game 2 of this series, by a tenth of a rating point (10.5).