Ratings Roundup: NBA, Stanley Cup Playoffs Off To Solid Start

Ratings roundup is a rundown of ratings news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, both the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and NBA Playoffs are off to hot starts after seeing their regular season numbers dip. In addition, 37% of Canadians tuned in to programming on Sportsnet and CBC last Saturday. 

Stanley Cup Playoffs Ratings Up Through First Five Days on NBC Networks
NBC Sports Group’s multi-platform coverage of the first five days of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (through April 17) has delivered year-over-year increases, record-setting digital consumption, and the best start ever for its cable networks. Total Audience Delivery (TAD) for the first five days of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (18 telecasts) averaged 726,000 viewers across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, up 9% compared to the same time period last season (669,000). TAD measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the average minute audience for television and digital.

NBC Sports Group’s cable coverage of the playoffs on NBCSN, CNBC, and USA Network (and their live streams) is off to its best start ever, with TAD averaging 581,000 viewers for 15 telecasts, up 14% vs. last year (509,000).

The Toronto-Washington series is currently the most-watched first-round series to feature a Canadian team in NBC Sports cable history, averaging a TAD of 724,000 viewers through its first two games (data is not yet available for last night’s game). All three games in the series have gone to overtime, with the Maple Leafs now holding a 2-1 lead.

Through Sunday’s games, NBC Sports Digital’s live streaming coverage of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs delivered 437,000 unique users and 53.1 million minutes, both postseason records, and up 15% and 17%, respectively, vs. the same time period last season (379,000 and 45.2 million).

The ratings increases are welcome news for NBC Sports, which saw NHL viewership fall to multi-year lows during the regular season. The 2016-17 NHL regular season averaged 467,000 viewers across NBC and NBCSN, down 7% from last year (503K) and down 5% from 2015 (503K). That does not include streaming, which boosted the average to 475,000 — down 6% from last year (505K). (SportsMediaWatch)…

NBA Playoffs Off to Solid Start on TNT, ABC, ESPN, and NBA TV
On Tuesday, TNT’s NBA Playoff doubleheader (Bulls-Celtics and Jazz-Clippers) averaged 3.2 million viewers, winning the night across cable and up 28% over 2016. The network’s coverage of the Bulls/Celtics averaged 3.4 million viewers, up 76% over 2016.

Meanwhile, NBA TV’s Tuesday night coverage of Bucks/Raptors averaged 539,000 viewers, up 2% over last year’s comparable game.

Over the weekend, the opening Sunday of the NBA playoffs was up for TNT and ABC. The Bulls victory over the Celtics followed by Rockets victory over the Thunder on TNT we up 39% in ratings over the primetime telecasts last year. The two games averaged a 3.4 household rating, winning the night across cable.

Earlier in the day, the Warriors’ win over the Trailblazers on ABC earned a 4.4 rating, up 10% over the same time slot last year. The first game of the day, Hawks-Wizards on TNT, garnered a 1.8 overnight rating (no comparable time slot a year ago).

Like the NHL, the hot start to the playoffs are welcome news for the NBA and its broadcast partners after ABC, ESPN, and TNT saw NBA viewership decline slightly in the 2016-17 regular season. National NBA telecasts across the three channels and cable network NBA TV averaged 1.19 million total viewers for the season ending on Wednesday — down 6% from the 2015-16 season, but even with the average from 2014-15. (Variety)…

Big Sports Saturday Delivers Big Ratings for Sportsnet, CBC 
In all, 37% of Canadians tuning in to programming on Sportsnet and CBC this past Saturday for Stanley Cup Playoffs, Raptors Playoffs, Blue Jays, and the Grand Slam of Curling: Players’ Championship. The biggest draw on Saturday was the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the three games featuring Canadian teams and the pre-game show ranking as the Top 4 programs of the day on Canadian television.

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Washington Capitals drew average audience of 3.64 million viewers (produced by Sportsnet on CBC). Audiences peaked at 5.34 million at the start of double overtime Calgary Flames @ Anaheim Ducks drew an average audience of 1.34 million viewers (CBC). Boston Bruins @ Ottawa Senators drew an average audience of 1.03 million viewers (Sportsnet) Hockey Central pre-game show drew average audience of 1.34 million viewers (Sportsnet and CBC)

In addition to the NHL, Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays drew an average audience of 574,000 viewers (Sportsnet ONE), Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors drew an average audience of 451,000 viewers (Sportsnet ONE), and Grand Slam of Curling – Players’ Championship women’s quarter-finals drew an average audience of 122,000 viewers (Sportsnet 360)


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