Western Conference Final Up 23% vs. 2017; Best in 3 Years; & Best Non-Chicago WCF Since 2002
Eastern Conference Final Averaging More Than 2 Million Viewers; Up 5% vs. Last Year & Best in 5 Years
Saturday Night’s Capitals-Lightning Game 5 Averaged Nearly 3 Million Viewers; Most-Watched Conference Final Game on NBC in Three Years
2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Up 9% Across Networks of NBCUniversal
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 23, 2018 – NBC Sports’ coverage of the NHL’s Eastern and Western Conference Finals continues to generate viewership milestones for each series and for individual games. The Conference Finals are averaging a combined Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.910 million viewers through Monday (11 games) across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, making it the most-watched Conference Final round in three years (2015, 1.945 million) and up 15% vs. last year (1.656 million).
The Western Conference Final, in which the expansion Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets in five games, averaged a TAD of 1.766 million viewers, making it the best WCF in three years, since the 7-game Chicago-Anaheim series in 2015 (2.468 million), and the best such series not involving the Chicago Blackhawks in 16 years, since the 7-game Colorado-Detroit series in 2002 (2.866 million). It also finished up 23% vs. last year’s 6-game Western Conference Final between Nashville and Anaheim (1.434 million).
Sunday’s series-clinching Game 5 on NBC averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 2.132 million viewers, up 5% vs. the game in the comparable window last year (Ottawa-Pittsburgh, 2.033 million). TV-only viewership peaked at nearly 3 million viewers (2.995 million). In Las Vegas, Game 5 produced a 17.9 local rating, the best-ever in the market for an NHL game.
In the East, the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning have split the series through six games, with a deciding Game 7 tonight on NBCSN. Through the first six games, the TAD for the series is averaging 2.032 million viewers, up 5% compared to last year (1.931 million), and making it the best ECF through six games in five years, since Boston’s four-game sweep of Pittsburgh in 2013 (2.931 million).
The Capitals tied the Eastern Conference Final with a 3-0 win over the Lightning on Monday night on NBCSN. Game 6 averaged a TAD of 2.201 million viewers, making it the second-most watched cable game of the playoffs so far behind only Washington-Pittsburgh OT Game 6 (2.321 million), and up 41% vs. the 2017 game in the comparable window (Anaheim-Nashville, Game 6, 1.558 million). Game 6 was also the second-most streamed Conference Final game ever in uniques (245,000) and live minutes (15.6 million). It recorded an Average Minute Audience of 89,600 viewers.
Locally, Tampa scored a 10.5 rating, the market’s third-best for an NBCSN game (excluding Stanley Cup Final games) behind only two previous Lightning Game 7s. Washington posted an 8.7 local rating, the market’s second-best rating for any NHL game.
Saturday night’s Game 5 on NBC, in which the Lightning won their third consecutive game to take a 3-2 series lead, immediately followed coverage of the Preakness Stakes, and averaged a TAD of 2.952 million viewers, making it the second-most watched game of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs to date (Pittsburgh-Washington, Game 5, NBC, 4.314 million) and NBC’s most-watched Conference Final game in three years (2015, Chicago-Anaheim, Game 7, 4.636 million). Game 5 was up 24% vs. the comparable game last year (Nashville-Anaheim, 2.378 million).
TV-only viewership peaked at 3.896 million viewers. In Tampa, Game 5 delivered a 12.0 local rating, the market’s best on the network for a non-Stanley Cup Final.
NBC Sports’ coverage of the Preakness Stakes ranked as last weekend’s most-watched sporting event with a Total Audience Delivery of 7.94 million viewers – up 5% from last year. Viewership for the race on NBC peaked at 9.5 million viewers from 6:45-7p.m. ET, as Justify crossed the finish line to remain unbeaten. Justify aims for the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes on Sat., June 9, on NBC.
Overall, the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (77 games) are averaging a TAD of 1.187 million viewers, up 9% vs. last year (1.085 million) and the best in five years (2013, 1.238 million).
Across NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, streaming of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs has reached 2.9 million uniques and 484 million live minutes, up 84% and 24%, respectively. The Average Minute Audience is 36,400 viewers, up 44% vs. 2017 (25,400 viewers). All are records.
Following are the Top 10 markets for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: