Ratings Roundup: Versus NHL Ratings Chug Along; TNT Thrives With Bulls-Heat

The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Versus averaged 757,000 viewers through May 15, down 4% from 789,000 viewers during the comparable period last year. Nonetheless the playoffs are still on pace to become the second most-watched postseason on cable since 1994. The telecasts are flat at a 0.5 U.S. rating. (www.sportsbusinessdaily.com)

The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Versus averaged 757,000 viewers (www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2011/05/19/Media/NHL-Ratings.aspx) through May 15, down 4% from 789,000 during the comparable period last year. The telecasts are flat at a 0.5 U.S. rating. Although viewership for the first two rounds is down, Versus officials remain confident that ratings on NBC will continue to rise.

As for the conference finals, it has been a tale of two series on Versus. Tuesday’s Game 2 between the Lightning and Bruins drew 1.562 million viewers, up 27% from last year (Canadiens-Flyers G2: 1.228 million), and up from the 1.54 million that tuned in for Game 1. On the flip side, Sharks-Canucks Game 2 drew just 847,000 viewers on Versus Wednesday night, down 42% from last year (Blackhawks-Sharks G2: 1.467 million)…

…Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals featuring the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls built off the record-setting performance of Game 1, delivering 10.0 million total viewers and a 6.1 U.S. household rating on TNT Wednesday night. Game 1 notched a 6.2 U.S. household rating and was the most-watched game in cable-television history, delivering 11.1 million total viewers. To date, TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs is up significantly over its coverage a year ago, averaging a 3.2 U.S. household rating (up 28%), 5,126,000 total viewers (32%) and 3,724,000 households (30%)….

…Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, the first in four years not to feature the Los Angeles Lakers, logged a 4.3 U.S. rating and 6.982 million viewers on ESPN Tuesday night, down 7% and 2%, respectively, from last year (Celtics-Magic G2: 4.6, 7.156 million). Compared with Game 1 of last year’s West Finals on TNT (Suns-Lakers G1: 4.4, 7.112 million), the game was down just a tick in ratings and 2% in viewership. The series opener drew the highest rating for a non-Lakers Western Conference Finals game since 2005, when Suns-Spurs Game 4 drew a 4.7 on ABC in primetime…

…ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball is averaging 2.89 million viewers through seven telecasts, up 15% over the 2.5 million viewers for the same number of telecasts last season. The 2.1 million household impressions are up 12% (1.9 million last year); the 2.1 rating, 11% (1.9). Overall, ESPN’s 22 MLB telecasts this season are up 7% among viewers (1.6 million vs. 1.5 million), 5% in household impressions (1.23 million vs. 1.18 million), and even with last year’s 1.2 rating.


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