Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round Scores For NBC, Versus

Posted by | April 30, 2011 at 6:16 AM

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.

(Numbers from NHL; NBC Sports Group, via TV By the Numbers; additional information from Son of the Bronx 1, 2)

  • Bruce

    Paulsen, I think almost every Vs broadcast is blacked out in home markets until the 2nd round. Even in the 2nd it seems to be around half of the games are blacked out in local markets.

    This changes for the 2012 NHL Playoffs when the new NBC/Comcast contract kicks. Versus (which will have a new name at that point) will broadcast every 2nd round game nationally, RSNs no longer will carry games after the 1st round.

    • Paulsen

      I know Versus doesn’t have any exclusive games until Round 2, but I’m not sure if all the first round games are blacked out in home markets. If I find any confirmation that all first round games are blacked out, I’ll update the post.

      • Kevin Laws

        Only 1 1st round game was shown on Versus in the Local market. That was Coyotes/Red Wings Game 1 which was shown on VS in Phoenix. Every other VS game was blacked out in the local markets.