Ratings Roundup: NBC’s Stanley Cup Final Thriller Is Most Watched Game 1 in 16 Years; NBA Finals Up and Down Through Three Games

Wednesday nights’s triple overtime Game 1 thriller of the Stanley Cup Final averaged nearly 6.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched Stanley Cup Final Game 1 in 16 years, the most-watched Game 1 ever on NBC (since 2006), and up 119% vs. last year. The Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins drew a 3.9 household rating and 6.358 million viewers, up 117% and 119%, respectively, vs. last year (L.A.-N.J., 1.8 rating, 2.902 million). The 6.358 million viewers are the most to watch a Stanley Cup Final Game 1 in 16 years, just 9,000 viewers off Detroit-Philadelphia on FOX in 1997 (6.367 million), which stands as the most-watched Game 1 ever (since the advent of people meters in 1987). Last night’s game now stands as the second-most watched Game 1.

…Overall, NBC is averaging 3.083 million viewers for its coverage of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, up 38% vs. the same time period in 2012 (2.226 million). For the entire playoffs, including last night’s game, NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC have combined to average 1.191 million viewers per game, up 7% vs. last year (1.116 million).

The Stanley Cup Conference Finals on NBC and NBC Sports Network were the most-watched Conference Finals in 17 years and up 111% from last year. The round was highlighted by its last two games, which scored viewership records for both NBC and NBC Sports Network. The Stanley Cup Conference Finals averaged 2.646 million viewers across NBC (two games) and NBC Sports Network (seven games), the largest audience since 13 games aired across FOX and ESPN (2.863 million viewers) 17 years ago. NBC’s two primetime games averaged 3.631 million viewers, making it the most-watched Conference Finals on broadcast television ever (data is available since 1993). With 2.303 million average viewers, the seven Conference Final games on NBC Sports Network were up 90% from last year (1.215 million), rank as the best ever on NBC Sports Network, and the best on cable since 1996 (ESPN, 2.938 million)…

…With a nail-biter in Game 1 followed by three blowouts, ABC’s NBA Finals coverage has been up and down in the ratings game thus far. The Spurs dramatic last-second victory in Game 1 generated a 10.6 overnight rating, the third-highest Game 1 rating since 2004. The Heat’s Game 2 blowout generated a 10.2 overnight, tied for the fourth-highest Game 2 rating since 2004.  Game 3 continued the downward trend with a 10.0 overnight rating for the Spurs’ blowout victory, down 4% from last year. Then the Heat’s series-tying win in Game 4 on Thursday saw a solid ratings comeback, generating a strong 12.0 overnight rating, which is the second-highest rated Game 4 since 2004. Game 4 marked the 34th consecutive time an NBA Finals telecast has won the night for all of television and is the 22nd consecutive time it has delivered double-digit overnight ratings. Additionally, Game 4 scored a 43.7 San Antonio and a 34.2 in Miami, both of which are the highest ratings of the series in those markets.

…UFC ON FUEL TV 10: NOGUEIRA VS. WERDUM on Saturday, June 8, delivered FUEL TV its highest-rated and most-watched primetime ever, as the one-hour live Prefight Show and the three-hour main card, averaged 250,000 total viewers and a 0.51 HH rating, up 468% and 538% respectively vs. the June 2012 Saturday average. UFC ON FUEL TV 10 (8:00-11:19 PM ET) averaged 313,000 viewers, ranking second all-time for a live fight event behind UFC® ON FUEL TV 8: SILVA VS. STANN on March 2, 2013 (485,000 viewers). The audience peaked from 9:45 PM ET to 10:00 PM ET with 399,000 viewers. On June 8, FUEL TV averaged 87,000 viewers, making it the second-most watched day in network history behind the record set on March 2, 2013 (131,000 viewers). It was up +129% vs. the June 2012 Saturday average…

…Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup qualifying contest between the United States and Panama delivered ESPN’s second most-watched and second highest-rated FIFA World Cup qualifying or international friendly match telecast.  The 2-0 U.S. victory at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA was seen by an average 1.436 million viewers, 888,000 households based on a 0.8 U.S. household rating, according to Nielsen Media. The viewers for USA-Panama trails only Mexico vs. USA on March 26, 2013, a telecast that delivered the record average audience with 2.385 million viewers and 1.644 million households, based on a 1.4 household U.S. rating on ESPN…

…Deportes Telemundo’s “Rumbo al Mundial” Soccer World Cup Qualifier between Panama and Mexico (Friday, June 7 at 9PM ET) was the No. 1 sporting event on television –broadcast or cable- regardless of language among adults 18-49, averaging 1,517,000 adults 18-49. The World Cup qualifier averaged 2,563,000 total viewers and reached a cumulative audience of more than 5 million viewers…

…ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU combined to televise every game from the eight NCAA Baseball Championship Super Regional sites, averaging 404,000 viewers over the 22 telecasts for a nine percent increase over last season (369,500 viewers). ESPN posted its most-viewed Super Regionals coverage since 2010, averaging 680,000 viewers. ESPNU averaged 279,000 viewers for six telecasts, marking the network’s most-viewed Super Regional coverage and a 41 percent increase over the first season it offered games (198,000 viewers in 2010).

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