April marked a particularly good month for NBC Sports’ nine regional networks and their streaming efforts. With strong performances from the NBA and NHL playoffs and the start of the MLB season, the networks posted their most-streamed month ever with 111 million minutes consumed. And while it’s to be expected that they’d do well in April given the content the networks have then, this was a significant 63 percent boost over the previous record (67 million minutes consumed last April).
Here’s a breakdown of the boosts they saw:
- In the NBA, where these networks have coverage of the Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, and Boston Celtics, they recorded over 245 million minutes streamed live (during the regular season and the first round of the playoffs) across 1.52 million devices, up 47 percent and 105 percent respectively from last year. The playoffs alone (for the 76ers, Trail Blazers, Wizards, Warriors and Celtics) recorded 22.3 million live minutes, up 108 percent year-over-year. And NBC Sports Philadelphia’s 76ers coverage in particular saw remarkable boosts, rising 324 percent and 335 percent year over year and posting the most-streamed NBA game for any of the networks (2,514,451 total minutes for Game 5 of the Heat-76ers series, the only one over 2 million minutes), while the inaugural full season of NBC Sports Northwest’s TrailBlazers’ coverage posted over eight million minutes streamed. (It should be noted that the TrailBlazers’ coverage included a package of 15 games available over-the-top, the first OTT effort for a NBC Sports regional network.)
- In MLB, where the networks have the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland A’s, they posted over 62.7 million live minutes across 442,000 unique devices in April, up 86 percent and 79 percent respectively compared to last April. The big star there has been SNY’s Mets’ coverage, with over 22 million total live minutes across 133,000 unique devices. Maybe everyone’s just tuning in for Keith Hernandez shenanigans?
- In the NHL, where these networks have the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, and Washington Capitals, they posted 80.4 million total live minutes through the regular season and the first round of the playoffs (for Philadelphia, San Jose and Washington), across 554,000 unique devices, up 68 percent and 97 percent relative to last year. Last year also had three playoff teams from that group, with Chicago in and Philadelphia out. As with the NBA, NBC Sports Philadelphia was a star here, posting 32.9 million live minutes across 221,000 unique devices, up 184% and 251% respectively compared to last year. But NBC Sports Washington had the top three of the five most-streamed games, all from the Capitals’ first-round series with the Columbus Blue Jackets (Game 3 led the way with 1,520,806 minutes across 20,535 devices), with NBC Sports Philadelphia posting the other two (for Game 2 and Game 5 of the Flyers’ first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins).
These streaming stats are notable as further proof of how important streaming is becoming for regional networks. Of course, apart from the NBC Sports Northwest partial Blazers’ package, this is all authenticated streaming rather than a pure over-the-top package, but it’s certainly coming in significant volumes. And it’s not just consumption on mobile devices, either, as the NBC release indicates that NHL streaming in particular saw the most growth on connected TVs, rising 141 percent in minutes consumed and 351 percent in uniques.
It’s not shocking that April is a high-streaming month for these NBC regional networks, with the NBA and NHL playoffs plus the MLB regular season starting, but it’s interesting to see how much better this April was than the previous record set last April. And that’s a further indication that streaming is going to be a more and more important part of the overall broadcast picture going forward.