CBC & NBC Achieve Milestones for Game 7 and Series
“After almost 40 years of waiting for another Stanley Cup, Bruins’ fans have responded with an energy that we haven’t seen since the Red Sox in 2004.” — Jed Berger, Modell’s Sporting Goods
“A memorable, unpredictable, crazy, finger-biting, tire-deflating, comeback-full spring of some of the best hockey we’ve ever seen.” – Toronto Sun on Stanley Cup Playoffs
NEW YORK (June 20, 2011) – After a regular season that saw record-breaking business success, highlighted by record revenue for the fifth consecutive year, the most significant U.S. media rights deal in League history and the NHL® named as “League of the Year” by Sports Business Journal, the NHL built on that momentum during a Stanley Cup® Final that attracted the largest audience across all platforms in the history of the sport. The landmark series, in which Boston defeated Vancouver in seven games, was highlighted by the most-watched NHL game in the U.S. in 38 years; the highest audience for any NHL game in Canadian television history; record TV ratings in Boston; and the hottest of all hot markets in Beantown fueling a Shop.NHL.com one-day sales record.
“There has never been a better time to be associated with the NHL,” said NHL COO John Collins. “On the ice, we saw a Stanley Cup Playoffs filled with tremendous performances and improbable comebacks capped off with a dramatic Game 7 in the Final. What’s most gratifying is how our fans responded in such a big way, driving new milestones of engagement across all platforms. What a great way to end another record year of growth.
“Off the ice, the corporate community has become increasingly aware of how the NHL can drive their business. Our partners have played a big part in our success and continued growth the past five years and we firmly believe the best is yet to come.”
Below are business highlights from the 2011 Stanley Cup® Playoffs:
- According to news sources, more than one million fans attended the Bruins victory parade – Boston’s largest crowd ever for a championship celebration, surpassing the turnout for events in recent years honoring the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics.
- According to Fansnap.com, tickets for the Stanley Cup Final were driving a higher price on the secondary market than for the NBA Finals by approximately $600 per ticket.
MERCHANDISE SALES UP OVER LAST YEAR’S RECORD
- In-arena “per caps,” the average amount spent per fan per game, were up 11 percent over last year for the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- In-arena “per caps” were up four percent for the Final.
- Game 4 resulted in the highest-ever sales at the TD Garden for a sporting event since it opened in 1995.
- In-arena jersey sales were up 87 percent during the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final
- North American Stanley Cup Playoff sales are on pace with last year’s record.
- Stanley Cup Championship T-shirts sales are up eight percent with Reebok t-shirt sales up 51 percent and Boston based Old Time Sports up 35 percent.
- Top selling products include jerseys, official locker room products, commemorative pucks, car flags and accessories, name and number tees and collectibles
- Sales on Shop.NHL.com from the day after Game 7 set a new single-day mark.
- The four-day post-Final total was up 30 percent over the same period last year.
Quotes about the NHL’s retail performance:
“After almost 40 years of waiting for another Stanley Cup, Bruins’ fans have responded with an energy that we haven’t seen since the Red Sox in 2004.”
— Jed Berger, VP Marketing, Modell’s Sporting Goods
“Customer demand in our Bob’s Stores with Bruins Stanley Cup Champions product has been beyond even our lofty expectations.”
— Lynn LaRocca, AVP, Marketing Director, Bob’s Stores
“This year Stanley Cup Championship merchandise sales are up 30 percent and last year was our best year ever.”
— Bob Magnuson, President, Old Time Sports
“We are thrilled with the strong Stanley Cup North American sales increases, to outpace some of the 2010 records speaks to the momentum for NHL in the marketplace.”
— Simon Drouin, Reebok NHL Director of Sales)
STANLEY CUP FINAL SETS VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES
The 2011 Stanley Cup set numerous viewership milestones and records, including the highest average North American viewership for any Stanley Cup Final in history – 11.5 million viewers (records go back to 1994). Game 7 of the series led the way, averaging a record 18.3 million viewers in the U.S. and Canada, also a North American viewership record for any NHL game on record.
Game 7 drew 8.54 million viewers on NBC in the U.S., the best for any NHL game in 38 years, up three percent over last year’s deciding Game 6 and seven percent over Game 7 in 2009. In Canada, the 8.76 million viewers on CBC for Game 7 is an all-time best for any NHL game on the network and the second most-watched sports program ever on CBC, behind only the 2002 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Final between USA and Canada (8.96 million). The 8.76 million viewers is a 148-percent increase over the last Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in 2009 (Pittsburgh-Detroit, 3.528 million viewers). On French-language RDS, the game attracted 1.043 million viewers, 50-percent higher than the last Game 7 to feature a Canadian team (2006: Edmonton-Carolina, 695,000 viewers).
CBC averaged 6.153 million viewers over the seven-games series, the best ever for CBC, a 98-percent increase over last year’s Final (3.10 million viewers) and an 186 percent increase over the last seven-game Final in 2009 (2.154 million viewers).
The Stanley Cup Final seven game series (Games 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 on NBC and Games 3, 4 on VERSUS) averaged 4.6 million viewers and a household rating of 2.7/5, surpassing the 2004 series (3.3 million, 2.2/4 on ABC/ESPN) as the most-watched combined network/cable Stanley Cup involving a Canadian team ever and up 39 percent from that series. The combined viewership was up 160 percent over the last Final with a Canadian team (Ottawa-Anaheim,
1.76 million viewers).
The Bruins’ first title since 1972 energized Beantown with the Bostonmarket averaging a 28.1/44 rating for the seven games (five on NBC and two on VERSUS), 12 percent higher than the Boston Celtics’ seven-game average in Boston on ABC for last year’s NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers (25.0/40). The 43.4/64 for Game 7 was the best-ever rating for an NHL game in Boston.
OTHER RATING & VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES
- Game 1 on NBC delivered a 2.7 national rating, up 17 percent over last year (2.3) despite that series featuring the No. 3 and 4 U.S. television markets (Chicago-Philadelphia).
- The 4.56 million viewers on NBC were the most for a Stanley Cup Final Game 1 since 1999 (Buffalo-Dallas, 5.07 million viewers on FOX).
- The two-game Stanley Cup Final metered market average on VERSUS of 1.95 was up 231percent over the last time the Final featured a Canadian team (2007, Ottawa-Anaheim, 0.59 on VERSUS).
- Game 4 on VERSUS produced a 23.64 HH rating in Boston, finishing No. 1 in the time period in the market and beating the Yankees-Red Sox game on NESN by 141 percent (9.8 local rating).
- The 2.76 million viewers on VERSUS for Game 3 made it the most watched Stanley Cup Final game featuring a Canadian club on U.S. cable since 1994 (Vancouver-NY Rangers Game 7).
- The 4.6 million viewers for Game 1 on NBC was 169-percent higher than the first network broadcast of the 2007 series (1.6 million viewers for Game 3), the last time the Final featured a Canadian participant.
- Overall, this was the second most-watched postseason (second only to last year) on U.S. cable in nine years.
- NBC’s five-game average audience of 5.31 million and 3.1/6 is the best for a network Stanley Cup Final featuring a Canadian team in 38 years (6.8/15 and 7.4 million for three games in 1973 on NBC).
- Average daily unique visitors during the Stanley Cup Final gained 26 percent over last season.
- Total visits were up by 28 percent.
- Video starts increased by 26 percent
- Mobile page views gained 39 percent
- For the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, traffic increased by 18 percent in the U.S. and 32 percent in Canada.
- All six Canadian NHL markets showed UV growth led by Vancouver, up 91 percent over last year.
- In the U.S., among the NHL markets showing substantial growth were Tampa-St. Pete (+149 percent), Nashville (+84 percent); Boston (+31 percent) and New York (+25 percent).
GAINS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
During the Stanley Cup Final, the NHL has added 48,000 Facebook LIKES and 10,000 Twitter followers. When calculated as a weekly average, this represents a 71% increase on Facebook over the regular season (weekly acquisition average) and a 134% increase on Twitter over the regular season (weekly acquisition average), despite fewer teams and games.
The NHL Network had the series covered from all angles with its team of experts and guest analysts. NHL On The Fly at the Stanley Cup Final:
Pre-Game presented by Cisco was on the air each game day at 6 p.m. and followed up each game with a post-game show immediately following the conclusion of every game to bring viewers instant analysis, coverage of post-game news conferences and all the news and notes. Both pre- and post-game shows originated live from fan plaza and concourse areas in Vancouver and Boston.
NHL Network’s daily signature show, NHL Live™ also broadcast Monday through Friday from 4 – 6 p.m. during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with the latest series information and reports from Vancouver and Boston.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS AND THE NHL
“You have to look at the NHL as the most stable of all the major sports leagues right now.”
— David Carter of Sports Business Group in Forbes.com
“Memorable, unpredictable, crazy, finger-biting, tire-deflating, comeback-full spring of some of the best hockey we’ve ever seen.” – Toronto Sun
“March Madness on ice.” – Denver Post
“Year after year, especially over the past decade, the Stanley Cup playoffs teach us one paramount lesson: Expect the unexpected.” — Pierre LeBrun, ESPN.com
“April/May Madness has suddenly become one of the NHL’s biggest marketing tools. The modern postseason has almost a fundamentalist revival feel to it, the rows of arena seats converted into pews where color-coordinated worshipers lift hands aloft with every fortunate bounce of the puck.” – Adrian Dater, SI.com
LANDMARK BUSINESS YEAR FOR NHL
In a season that saw outstanding on-ice performances with a dramatic playoff chase that went down to the last minute of the last game of the season and capped by a seven-game Stanley Cup Final, the NHL experienced unprecedented success off the ice achieving a myriad of business records and milestones. Led by dramatic increases in sponsorship and merchandise sales, landmark corporate investment in its big events and impressive digital growth, the NHL is on pace for its fifth consecutive year of record revenue approaching nearly $3 billion in total revenue. League generated revenue has increased by 15 percent for this year and has increased by 150 percent over the past five years. Sponsorship sales set an all-time record with gross sales increasing by 33 percent over last year as the League added to its blue chip roster of corporate partners attracted by the most-coveted fan demographic in all of sports. The NHL received rave reviews for partnering with HBO on 24/7 and recently announced a new 10-year television agreement with the NBC Sports Group. For its business achievements, Sports Business Journal named the NHL as its “League of the Year.”
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