The first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged the highest viewership since at least the mid-1990s.
NBC, NBC Sports Network, and CNBC averaged 929,000 viewers for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the highest average on record (dating back to 1994) for the first round. NHL Network is not Nielsen-rated.
In particular, NBC averaged 2.57 million viewers for six telecasts — up 39% from last year (1.85M), and the the highest for the first round on broadcast since FOX averaged 2.68 million for two telecasts in 1998.
Over on NBC Sports Network, games averaged 744,000 viewers — up 19% from last year (624K), up 25% from 2010 (595K), and the highest average for the first round on a single cable network since ESPN averaged 745,000 in 2001.
NBCSN concluded first round coverage Thursday with Senators/Rangers Game 7 (984K) and the conclusion Devils/Panthers Game 7 (867K).