NEW YORK -- Canadians were glued to CBC's Hockey Night In Canada Wednesday night as Game 7 between the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins drew an average audience of 4.24 million viewers, ranking as the sixth largest Stanley Cup Playoffs audience in CBC history. CBC's Conference Semifinal average was up 94 percent over last year, averaging 2.66 million viewers compared to 1.37 million last year. On French language RDS, the Canadiens-Penguins Game 7 was the most-viewed NHL telecast in the network's history with 2.69 million viewers.
The game also scored on VERSUS as well as locally on FSN Pittsburgh. On VERSUS, the Penguins-Canadiens Game 7 posted a 1.3 HH rating and 1.31 million viewers, up 30 percent and 15 percent from last year's Pittsburgh/Washington Game 7 which delivered a 1.0 rating and 1.14 million viewers. The game averaged a 26.4 HH rating on FSN Pittsburgh, the highest-rated game ever on the network. At one point 43 percent of all households in the Pittsburgh DMA were tuned into FSN.
Also setting a record was the Philadelphia Flyers-Boston Bruins Game 6 which was the most-watched Flyers game in CSN Philadelphia history, earning a 10.1 HH rating and peaking at 14.0.
As the Eastern Conference Semifinals concludes with tonight's Flyers-Bruins Game 7, the compelling action on the ice is helping to fuel substantial business success off the ice. All North American TV partners are showing strong increases in viewership, the NHL's digital platforms are experiencing explosive growth, and attendance is averaging above capacity.
TV MILESTONES IN THE 2010 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
? NESN earned a 10.3 HH rating in Boston Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal, the third highest Bruins game rating in NESN's 26 year history covering the team.
? There were three major Boston-area sports events televised on May 7 and Game 4 of the Bruins-Flyers series scored the best numbers, earning an 8.3 local Nielsen rating (328,000 viewers) on VERSUS in the Boston metered market besting the Yankees-Red Sox matchup on NESN, which earned a 6.3 local rating (223,000 viewers) to finish in second, while Game Three of the Cavaliers-Celtics NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals earned a 4.1 local rating (142,000 viewers) on ESPN.
? On Thursday April 22, the Blackhawks, with 278,000 viewers in Chicago, prevailed over some tough local competition: Bulls (255,000 viewers, playoff game against Cleveland and LeBron James), NFL Draft (138,000) and the Chicago Cubs vs. NY Mets (137,000 viewers).
? Combined, NBC and VERSUS averaged 742,000 viewers per telecast, the most for the first round since ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 averaged 750,000 viewers in 2000 and a 24-percent increase over last year.
? VERSUS' average viewership of 595,000 for the first round of the playoffs was the best for the NHL on U.S. cable in nine years (ESPN/ESPN 2, 608,000 in 2001).
? Game 2 of the Detroit/San Jose series averaged 1.772 million viewers, making it VERSUS' most-watched Conference Semifinal game in network history and the most-watched second-round game on cable in a decade (Colorado/Detroit, May 1, 2000 on ESPN, 1.926 million).
? The Washington-Montreal Game 7 was the highest rated (1.2 HH rating) and most watched (1.2 million viewers) Conference Quarterfinal game ever on VERSUS, and the most watched Conference Quarterfinal game on U.S. cable since Minnesota-Colorado in 2003 on ESPN.
? TSN's audience of 2.8 million for the Washington-Montreal Game 7 was the highest audience ever recorded for an NHL game on TSN and was the most-watched program on Canadian television Wednesday night in all key demographics.
? The Montreal-Washington series ranks as the most-watched playoff series ever on TSN (any round) with an average audience of 1.8 million viewers over seven games.
VERSUS GROWS SECOND-ROUND VIEWERSHIP BY MORE THAN 30 PERCENT
Through Wednesday night's games, VERSUS' Conference Semifinal round coverage has averaged a 1.0 HH rating and 1.05 million viewers, which is up 25 percent and 32 percent, respectively, as compared to the same time period last year (.8 HH rating and 793,000 viewers).
NHL ON NBC VIEWERSHIP UP 4 PERCENT
NBC Sports' six playoff broadcasts are averaging 1.71 million viewers, up four percent compared to 2009 (1.64 million).
TSN VIEWERSHIP UP 78 PERCENT
Through Wednesday, TSN is averaging 1.06 million viewers for the playoffs, 78 percent higher than its average audience to date last year (595,000 viewers).
CBC VIEWERSHIP UP 65 PERCENT
The Conference Semifinal round on CBC averaged 2.66 million viewers, an 87 percent jump over last year (1.42 million).
Through Wednesday, CBC has averaged 1.86 million viewers for the playoffs, a 65 percent increase over last year (1.13 million viewers).
NHL ON RDS UP 90 PERCENT
Through Wednesday, the Stanley Cup Playoffs on RDS are averaging 685,000 viewers, up 90 percent over last year.
DIGITAL STRATEGY PAYS DIVIDENDS
The NHL is engaging and connecting with more fans than ever on its digital platforms and the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs has continued that trend. Some highlights:
? For the first 29 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 143 percent over last year
? Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 31 percent
? Page views on NHL.com are up 49 percent
? Mobile page views are up 191 percent
? April was the most trafficked month in the history of NHL.com in terms of unique visitors surpassing 17 million
The NHL has played to more than 100 percent capacity during these playoffs.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NHL'S RECORD-BREAKING BUSINESS SUCCESS IN 2009-10
? Corporate sponsorship was up 20 percent
? New League partners this season include Geico, Starwood Hotels, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, LG Electronics and Hershey's Canada
? Ad spending on NHL media increased by 37 percent over last season
? NHL.com ad revenue is up 50 percent over last year
? Revenue from big event platforms, led by the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, are up 22 percent over last season
? Unique visitors to NHL.com surpassed last year's record by 32 percent
? NNL Game Center Live™ subscriptions were up 25 percent
? NHL Network subscribers have increased by 104 percent
? Sales at SHOP.NHL.com were up 12 percent from last year's record
? Viewership for NBC's Game of the Week telecasts were up 13 percent
? Ratings for exclusive telecasts on Versus were up 20 percent
? NHL Mobile reached 1.6 million page views, an increase of 233 percent over last season
Source: Nielsen Media Research US and Nielsen Media Research Canada / BBM