Dallas Stars Stanley Cup Playoffs Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Through two rounds, the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are drawing record-high viewership.

Per the Sports Business Journal, the league is averaging 1.16 million viewers per game across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, and truTV heading into the Conference Finals. That’s a 9% increase from last year’s average through two rounds, and the most-watched mark for the league ever through two rounds.

The strong results aren’t limited to one company either, with both Disney and TNT Sports seeing impressive viewership during these playoffs.

In the second round, TNT Sports averaged 1.5 million viewers across TNT, truTV, and TBS, its best conference semifinals as an NHL rightsholder and a 16% increase from last season.

Disney averaged 1.57 million viewers in the second round, its best conference semifinals since regaining the NHL’s media rights prior to the 2021-22 season and up 9% from last year. Overall, Disney’s networks (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2) are averaging 1.23 million viewers per game during these playoffs, up 15% from last year.

The NHL’s increase through two rounds can be contrasted to the NBA, which is down 10% after its first two rounds. However, the NBA’s average game audience is more than triple the NHL’s through two rounds, averaging 3.77 million viewers per game. While more broadcast television windows have aided the league’s numbers, a TNT (cable) game between the Timberwolves and Nuggets drew 8.41 million viewers on Sunday.

The NHL Conference Finals begin this week, with ESPN airing the Eastern Conference Final between the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers and TNT airing the Western Conference Final between the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers. ABC will air the Stanley Cup Final this year.

[Sports Business Journal]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.