NBC Sports, heading into Game 3 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, has netted a 23% jump in Total Audience Delivery with its coverage of the National Hockey League's championship series.
Through the first two games of the battle between the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators, Total Audience Delivery — combining linear TV and digital average minute audience — has averaged 4.08 million watchers, according to data from Nielsen Holdings, a 23% jump from the 3.32 million watchers for the first two games of the 2016 title series.
NBCSN (US)'s coverage of Game 2 — in which the Penguins scored three goals early in the third period to claim a 4-1 victory and two-game series advantage — averaged a 1.84 household rating and 3.18 million watchers, gains of 28% and 27% over the 1.44 rating and 2.51 million viewers for Game 2 of Pittsburgh-San Jose last year.
Tacking on an all-time NHL record average minute audience of 97,900 viewers, Game 2 posted a TAD of 3.28 million viewers, up 27% from 2.58 million viewers for Penguins-Sharks a year ago. Penguins-Predators ranked as the second-most-watched Stanley Cup Final Game 2 on cable since 2002 — when ESPN (US) scored with 3.78 million watchers for Carolina-Detroit that year — behind the 3.96 million watchers on NBCSN for Boston-Chicago in 2013.
In addition to setting the average minute mark with 97,900 viewers, Game 2 of the Predators-Penguins series notched other digital milestones, delivering 20.47 million live minutes, the second most for an NHL game, and 229,000 unique devices, the third most to date. The latter two numbers represented gains of 52% and 34%, respectively, from the 13.48 million live minutes and 171,000 devices for the second game of Pittsburgh-San Jose last year.
NBCSN will provide coverage of Game 3 from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on June 3 at 8 p.m. ET. NBC (US), which televised the Pittsburgh-Nashvillle opener on May 29 and averaged a TAD of 5.04 million watchers, a 22% jump from the 4.13 million watchers for the first game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, will pick up Game 4 action June 5, and the rest of the best-of-seven series, should the Predators mount a comeback.