Ratings Roundup: NBC, Sportsnet Notch Best NHL Opening Night Ever; NLDS Continues Streak on FS1, MLB Net

Wednesday’s NHL opening night doubleheader on NBCSN was the best on record, according to The Nielsen Company, generating record ratings and viewership, as well as digital consumption. Wednesday Night Rivalry’s Philadelphia Flyers-Boston Bruins matchup (7:27-10:06 p.m. ET) delivered 956,000 viewers and a 0.57 household rating, making it the most-watched opening night game on cable on record (data available since 1993) and the highest-rated NHL regular-season game ever on NBCSN. The game also set live streaming records for uniques and minutes consumed. The second game of the doubleheader, featuring the San Jose Sharks against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings (10:06 p.m. ET – 1:14 a.m. ET), averaged 446,000 viewers, the most ever on NBCSN for an NHL regular-season “late” game (puck drop after 9 p.m. ET), excluding last season’s Ducks-Kings outdoor game at Dodger Stadium. Combined, the doubleheader averaged a 0.43 household rating and 679,000 viewers, making it the best NHL opening night doubleheader on record (data available since 1993), and up 19% and 13%, respectively, vs. the most-recent opening night doubleheader to begin the 2011-12 season (0.36 HH rating; 601,000 viewers).

The Flyers-Bruins’ 0.57 household rating surpassed the 0.55 rating for the first-ever Wednesday Night Rivalry game between the Flyers and Penguins (2/20/13). The rating was up 12% over last year’s season opener (Was-Chi; 0.51). In addition to the record rating, the Wednesday Night Rivalry matchup, in which the Bruins defeated the Flyers 2-1, averaged 956,000 viewers, making it the most-watched opening night game on cable on record (data available since 1993), and tying it for the most-watched regular-season game ever on NBCSN. The previous opening night record was set last year (Was-Chi; 935,000 viewers), while the game it tied for the most-watched in NBCSN history was Boston-New York Rangers (1/23/13). Last night’s game peaked at 1.206 million viewers from 8-8:15 p.m. ET.

Locally, Philadelphia delivered a 4.68 rating, the second-best regular-season Flyers game ever on NBCSN in the market. NBCSN was the No. 1 cable network in Philadelphia during the game, while it was the No. 1 network overall in Boston, which led all markets with a 7.80 rating. Flyers-Bruins also set records for NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. The game delivered 41,000 uniques and 1.6 million minutes, the best-ever in both categories for an authenticated regular-season game.

The San Jose Sharks defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings 4-0 in the second game of last night’s doubleheader. The game delivered a 0.31 household rating and 446,000 viewers, up 41% and 30%, respectfully, vs. a comparable late game to begin the 2011 season (Van-Pit; 10/6; 0.22; 342,000). The 1.13 rating was the second-best regular-season Kings game ever on NBCSN in L.A. NBCSN was the No. 2 cable network in the market during the game, while it was the No. 1 cable network in SF/Oak/San Jose during the contest…

…In Canada, Sportsnet kicked off its 2014-15 NHL national broadcast schedule with a record-setting night of its own, as an average of 2.01 million viewers (2+) tuned into the Toronto Maple Leafs home opener vs. the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday Night Hockey, marking the most-watched broadcast in network history. It was also the No. 1 program of the night across Canada. Overall, 8 million Canadians watched some part of the record-setting night on Sportsnet, which included three NHL games (Montreal at Toronto; Vancouver at Calgary; San Jose at Los Angeles).

Wednesday Night Hockey Pre-Game Show average audience was 377,000 viewers. Montreal at Toronto average audience earned 2.01 million viewers and marks highest audience in network history (beats previous No.1 audience on Sportsnet by 40%  – Toronto Blue Jays MLB Home Opener on April 2, 2013 with 1.44 million average audience). Vancouver at Calgary average audience was 1 million viewers. Game One of the Wednesday Night doubleheader (Montreal @ Toronto) was No. 1 show of the night in Canada, beating closest competitor by 9%.

In addition, 55,000 fans live streamed games on Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE. 75% watched online, while 25% used mobile phones and tablets. On average hockey fans streamed 51 minutes of action packed play.Fans streamed over 80,000 minutes of on demand video and replays from multiple angles with MyReplay…

…Fox RSNs have also gotten off to a hot starts this NHLs seasonThe Red Wings pulled in their highest-rated October season opener since 2005 with a 5.6 rating on FOX Sports Detroit was +32% greater than last year (4.24).

 The Dallas Stars opened the regular season on FOX Sports Southwest with a 1.52 HH rating, +149% over last year’s season opener.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s operner generated a 1.8 HH rating average on Sun Sports; +10% over last year’s opener.
The Columbus Blue Jackets opened their season on FOX Sports Ohio with a 1.38 HH rating in Columbus, a +25% increase from last season’s opener and up +86% compared to their 2013 average.

The St. Louis Blues scored their highest-rated opener ever on FOX Sports Midwest, with a 6.4 household rating, up +32% over last year’s opener (4.9)

The Nashville Predators are off to a strong start with a 1.2 HH rating on FOX Sports Tennessee — up 300% from last year’s season opener…


…Coming off record-setting audiences last Saturday, MLB Network’s telecast of NLDS Game Three between the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants on Oct. 7 now registers as the highest-rated program in the network’s history with a 2.0 coverage rating and 1.8 million viewers. With a 5:00 p.m. ET start time, yesterday’s game viewership peaked with 2.6 million viewers from 7:30-7:45 p.m. ET, up 18% from a peak viewership of 2.2 million viewers for Saturday’s NLDS Game Two between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers. Through its two exclusive NLDS game telecasts this year, MLB Network’s combined Postseason game viewership is up 100% over its two LDS games in 2013. Saturday’s game telecast also led to MLB Network’s best total day viewership ever with an average of 384,000 viewers, up 42% from its prior record on March 10, 2013 during the network’s coverage of the World Baseball Classic…

…On Oct. 8, FOX Sports 1 averaged 3.443 million viewers to register as the No. 1 ad-supported cable network in prime time. It was FOX Sports 1’s second best primetime performance, a bit behind the record set Saturday night (3.727 mm).  Wednesday was also FOX Sports 1’s most-watched day with an average of 1.171 million viewers from 3:00-3:00 AM ET.  Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Cardinals yesterday afternoon, drew an audience of 3.267 million viewers, setting a new record as FOX Sports 1’s most-watched non-primetime program. The audience for the Dodgers/Cardinals clincher peaked at 4.957 million viewers during the game’s final 14 minutes (8:00-8:14 PM ET). Last night, Nationals/Giants NLDS Game 4 delivered 3.921 million viewers, eclipsing the channel’s four day old audience record of 3.595 million viewers initially set Friday for Dodgers/Cardinals NLDS Game 1.  The audience peaked at 4.271 million from (12:00-12:25 AM ET). Currently, five of FOX Sports 1’s top 10 shows are 2014 National League Division Series games. In order they are: No. 1 – Nationals/Giants Game 4, 3.921 million; No. 2 – Dodgers/Cardinals Game 1, 3.595 mm; No. 5 – Dodgers/Cardinals Game 4, 3.267 mm; No. 7 – Giants/Nationals Game 2, 3.160 mm; and No. 9 – Dodgers/Cardinals Game 3, 2.887 mm. St. Louis led all markets again for Dodgers/Cardinals Game 4, posting a 22.4/39, while Los Angeles registered a 5.6/15.  Later on, San Francisco posted its best-ever rating on FOX Sports 1 with a 16.5/30, while Washington, DC tallied an 8.8/17 for the Nationals/Giants series finale.

On the digital front, the 2014 NLDS continues to post impressive figures for performance on FOX Sports GO, posting its largest day ever for authenticated viewership, besting the previous high set last Saturday.

…Game 3 of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Cardinals, drew an audience of 2.887 million viewers, driving FOX Sports 1 to its most-watched Monday show ever and projects to be its most-watched Monday prime time ever.  It is the seventh most-watched telecast in FOX Sports 1 history, joining Cardinals-Dodgers NLDS Game 1 (1st) and Giants-Nationals NLDS Game 2 (5th) to crack the channel’s top-10 list, all within the last four days.    The Oct. 7 telecast averaged 1.962 million viewers in the first half hour (9:00-9:30 PM ET), and peaked at 3.325 million at the end (12:00-12:14 AM ET), according to Nielsen. Local ratings in competing markets continue a record-setting pace. St. Louis led all markets, posting a 23.4/35, a new record in the market and the highest metered-market rating ever for an event on FOX Sports 1. Los Angeles also set a new FOX Sports 1 record, notching a 7.6/12. Through four games, the NLDS on FOX Sports 1 is averaging 2.937 million viewers for each game…

…The YES Network expanded its lead as the most-watched regional sports network (RSN) in the country in both Primetime and Total Day delivery in third-quarter 2014, and both its Total Day and its Primetime delivery surpassed that of the next two most-watched New York-based RSNs combined. In addition, YES’ Yankees game telecasts and studio shows showed significant year-over-year improvement in TV Households and demo delivery, while its digital properties have also showed substantial year-over-year growth. CLICK HERE for the full details.

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