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Stanley Cup viewership in U.S. best in 8 years

Non-traditional markets show impressive growth

Wednesday, 06.09.2010 / 3:03 PM / 2010 Stanley Cup Final - Blackhawks vs. Flyers

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Stanley Cup viewership in U.S. best in 8 years
NEW YORK –Heading into tonight's crucial Game 6, the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Final have been a success by every measure with landmark TV ratings nationally and locally, huge gains across all digital platforms and growth in non-traditional markets. That success has been mirrored with impressive results for NHL merchandise sales and a new playoff attendance mark being set.

NBC/VERSUS COMBINE FOR BEST FIVE-GAME VIEWERSHIP IN 8 YEARS
Overall through five Stanley Cup Final games, VERSUS and NBC are averaged 4.6 million viewers per game, up 10 percent from last year (4.1 million) and the most since ABC/ESPN averaged 5.1 million viewers for the first five games in 2002.

NBC averaged a 3.0 household rating and 5.4 million viewers per broadcast for their first three games of this year's Final, up 15 percent and 14 percent respectively from last year's three-game average of a 2.6 and 4.7 million viewers. The three-game average viewership on NBC is the most for a broadcast network since ABC averaged 5.8 million viewers for three broadcasts in 2002.

Through five games, the Stanley Cup Final on CBC is averaging 2.935 million viewers up 64 percent over last year (1.793 million).

STANLEY CUP FINAL
Top NHL Market Rating Increases (NBC/VERSUS)
1. Chicago - + 843%
2. Philadelphia - + 457%
3. Denver - + 44%
4. Buffalo - + 35%
T5. Phoenix - + 25%
T5. San Francisco - + 25%

Top Non NHL Market Rating Increases (NBC/VERSUS)
1. Kansas City - + 80%
2. Greenville - + 75%
3. Salt Lake City - + 67%
4. San Diego - + 64%
5. Seattle - + 56%
6. New Orleans - + 50%

TOTAL PLAYOFFS
Top NHL Market Rating Increases (NBC/VERSUS)
1. Chicago - + 183%
2. Philadelphia - +  138%
3. San Francisco - + 57%
4. Buffalo - + 32%
5. Boston - + 25%

Top Non NHL Market Rating Increases (NBC/VERSUS)
1. San Diego - + 120%
T2. Louisville - + 100%
T2. San Antonio - + 100%
4. Providence – + 83%
5. Sacramento - + 75%

NHL.COM MARKET INCREASES
Top 20 U.S. Markets in Unique Visitors By Percentage Growth 2009-2010
1.    Kansas City – + 165%
2.    Boston – + 138%
3.    Philadelphia – + 106%
4.    Phoenix – + 98%
5.    Chicago – + 89%
6.    Denver – + 75%
7.    Peoria – + 74%
T8. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose – + 57%
T8. Nashville – + 57%
10. Sacramento - + 56%
11. Austin - + 52%
12. Milwaukee – + 48%
13. Seattle – + 46%
14. Spokane – + 42%
15. Portland (Maine) - + 39%
16. Los Angeles – + 38%
17. San Antonio – + 37%
T18. Buffalo - + 35%
T18. Little Rock - 3+ 5%
20. Portland (Ore.) - + 34%

MERCHANDISE SALES
·    In-arena merchandise sales for the first five games have already surpassed last year's seven-game Final by 72 percent
·    In-arena sales volume for the first five games have shown a 128 percent increase over last year and a 84 percent increase over 2008

DIGITAL PLATFORMS SHOW IMPRESSIVE GROWTH
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 56 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 159 percent over last year
·    Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 28 percent
·    Page views are up 53 percent
·    Mobile page views are up 179 percent
·    April was the most trafficked month in the history of NHL.com in terms of unique visitors surpassing 17 million
·    NHL.com ranked as the number two site in terms of percentage change in unique visitors from March to April according to comScore.

TV MILESTONES IN THE 2010 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS 
·    NBC Sports' coverage of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final earned the best overnight rating (4.1 rating and 7 share) for a Game 2 on record (NHL overnight data prior to 1975 is unavailable)
·    Canada also scored big for Game 1 of the Final with CBC equaling its best Game 1 audience since 1994 (3.16 million).
·    NBC's two-game average overnight rating is a 3.5, the best for the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final in 11 years (3.8 on Fox in 1999, Buffalo vs. Dallas) and up 17 percent over last year (3.0).
·    Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on VERSUS averaged 3.369 million viewers making it the most-watched Final round on cable since 2002.
·    VERSUS' coverage of the first two rounds of 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the most-watched first two rounds on cable on record with an average of  775,000 viewers for the 54 telecasts (Stanley Cup Playoff cable viewership became available by Nielsen for the 1994 playoffs)
·    NBC and VERSUS have combined for the most-watched first two rounds since 1997 (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2)
·    Game 1 of the Blackhawks-Sharks series on NBC earned an 11.2 rating in Chicago, beating the Cubs, White Sox and Boston-Orlando broadcasts combined
·    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)
·    The Flyers Game 7 victory over the Bruins was the most watched Flyers game in Comcast SportsNet history with an 11.7 rating and 345,000 households, topping the previous record set two days earlier.
·    CBC's coverage of 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 Playoff audience in CBC history.
·    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 FSN Pittsburgh averaging a 26.4 HH rating, the highest-rated game ever on the network. At one point 43 percent of all households in the Pittsburgh DMA were tuned into FSN.
·    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.
·    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.

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
·    NHL 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


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