The Stanley Cup Playoffs got off to the best start in years on corporate siblings NBC and Versus.
NBC averaged 1.9 million viewers for four first round Stanley Cup Playoff games this season, up 12% from last year (1.7M), and up 27% from the first round in 2009 (1.5M).
This marks the most-viewed first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on broadcast since 2004 (2.0M, ABC).
Last Sunday, Game 6 of the Flyers/Sabres series earned 2.57 million viewers on NBC, up 45% from last year (PHX/DET G6: 1.776M). Along with last Saturday’s Rangers/Capitals Game 5, last weekend’s NHL action on NBC averaged 2.1 million viewers, up 24% from last year (1.7M).
Over on Versus, first round action averaged 624,000 viewers, up 8% from last year (595K), and up 41% from two years ago (442K). This marks the most-viewed first round on cable since 1994.
Game 6 of the Canucks/Blackhawks series earned a 0.7 U.S. rating and 1.157 million viewers Sunday night, the most-viewed first round game ever on Versus, and the most-viewed first round game on cable since 2003 (COL/MIN G7: 1.24M, ESPN).
Two nights later, Game 7 of the same series drew a 0.7 and 1.135 million.
Keep in mind that most first round playoff games on Versus are blacked out in the home markets.