The NHL continues to have a pretty dreamy postseason in terms of markets involved. Four Original Six teams, including two battling one another. Two other huge hockey hotbeds (Pittsburgh and Minnesota) and a battle of Los Angeles that should do wonders for the growth of the sport.
The numbers appear to be shaking out that way for NBCSN. Through five days, the network is averaging 1.48 million viewers for second round action. That’s up 42% from the same time last year. Numbers on NBC were a tick down for action from last Saturday, but the postseason’s growth on cable is arguably just as important.
To show you how well things are going for NBCSN, here are the five-most watched games from the second round in 2013 on the network:
1. Detroit vs. Chicago, Game 7 - 3.35 million
2. Chicago vs. Detroit, Game 6 - 2.72 million
3. NY Rangers vs. Boston, Game 5 - 1.86 million
t4. Boston vs. NY Rangers, Game 3 - 1.75 million
t4. Chicago vs. Detroit, Game 4 - 1.75 million
Now, here’s the five most-watched from just the first five days of second round action, through the start of Tuesday:
1. Minnesota vs. Chicago, Game 1 - 1.95 million
2. Boston vs. Montreal, Game 1 – 1.92 million
3. NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh, Game 2 - 1.86 million
4. NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh, Game 1 - 1.52 million
5. Pittsburgh vs. NY Rangers, Game 3 - 1.46 million
NBC already has two telecasts from early in series that are outdrawing NBCSN’s coverage of everything but Games 6 and 7 of that crazy Chicago-Detroit series last year. That they’re getting large (for hockey) ratings from three series instead of two last year will likely give this a shot at being the highest-rated second round on record.
Let’s look at the other series in action, Los Angeles vs. Anaheim. Games 1 and 2 of that series have averaged an unspectacular 833,000 viewers. However, despite only having one market involved in the series rather than two, that is a big boost from the first two games of the San Jose-Los Angeles series last year, which averaged 715,000 viewers.
All in all, it’s looking like the NHL will have a shot at another really solid postseason on television, almost regardless of who comes out victorious from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.