The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a success by every measure with record TV ratings locally and nationally, huge gains across all digital platforms and surging measurable buzz on Google’s official blogspot
. That success has been mirrored with impressive results for NHL merchandise sales, online, at retail and in-arena, with total sales volume for the first three games of the Final having already surpassed the entire seven-game Final last year. Some highlights:
- Total sales volume for the first three games is already up four percent over the entire seven-game Final last year
- In-arena sales volume for the first three games have shown a 137 percent increase over last year and a 96 percent increase over 2008
- Among the top-selling items were: Stanley Cup commemorative program (PSP/NHL), Dueling Pucks (Sherwood), official game pucks (Sherwood) , Stanley Cup patches (National Emblem), Reebok "Draft Cap" with Final logo on the side and ticket-holder lanyards by Wincraft
- The NHL saw a 75 percent increase in sales over the same week last year on Shop.NHL.com driven by sales of Conference Champion merchandise
- Apparel sales for the Stanley Cup Playoffs are up approximately 40 percent.
- Year-to-date playoff sales are up 26 percent on Shop.NHL.com
- The NHL Powered By Reebok Store sales from April 1 to present are up 15 percent over last year
- There has been huge demand for Reebok player-identified Stanley Cup apparel.
"The very devoted fans in both of these markets have shown tremendous support of their teams," said Bryan Nosal, Senior Buyer, J.C. Penney. "Our hot market results have been beyond our expectations thus far and we anticipate exceptional results for whichever team wins."
The Stanley Cup Final is also a hit with TV viewers.
Through two games on NBC, the Stanley Cup is averaging 5.16 million viewers, the highest for the first two games on U.S. broadcast television since 1997 (5.69 million, FOX). The 5.16 million viewers is a 7 percent increase over last year (4.82 million). Viewership in the advertiser coveted demos of men 18-49 and men 25-54 are the highest since 1999. Game 2 of the Final attracted 5.89 million viewers, the most since records have been kept (since at least 1975). (Versus will release its national viewership and ratings later on Thursday).
Google's Official Blog is reporting strong search demand for the Stanley Cup Final, with searches for the event, teams and players surging globally, and especially in the participating markets where NHL terms are the most popular among all sports-related search terms.
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:
- Video starts Wednesday on NHL.com were up a remarkable 876 percent as fans flocked to the site to see highlights of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Chris Pronger’s "puck heist" at the end of the game, was the most-watched video of the day.
- For the first four days of the Stanley Cup Final, page views are up 85 percent over last year and video starts are up 299 percent
- For the first 49 days of the playoffs, video starts on NHL.com are up 156 percent over last year
- Unique visitors to NHL.com are up 29 percent
- Page views are up 51 percent
- Mobile page views are up 180 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).
- 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