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by TV News Desk
There was a clear thirst for the return of the NHL as yesterday's two-game regional coverage on NBC scored a 2.0 overnight rating (3:30-6:15 p.m. ET), resulting in a host of records and milestones, according to official data released today by The Nielsen Company. The 2.0 overnight was (excluding Winter Classics):
· the highest overnight rating for regular-season coverage in more than a decade;
· the highest overnight for regular-season coverage on NBC since its recent coverage of The League began in 2006;
· a 67-percent increase compared to last year's 2011-12 regular-season average;
· an 82-percent increase vs. last year's coverage during the comparable weekend;
· Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Chicago scored record local ratings.
NBC Sports' coverage consisted of the Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings, which saw the Blackhawks handily defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, 5-2, and the Pittsburgh Penguins victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1, as well as a half-hour pre-game show that featured the Kings championship banner raising.
The 2.0 overnight was the best for any regular-season game on any network, excluding Winter Classics, since a 2.3 overnight for three-game regional on ABC (1/12/02), also making it the best on NBC since the network began broadcasting the NHL again in 2006.
The 2.0 overnight was up 67% compared to last year's 2011-12 NHL on NBC regular-season average (1.2), which includes the 2012 Winter Classic, and up 82% vs. coverage during the comparable weekend last year, which featured Chicago-Detroit (1.1; 1/14/12; overtime).
The overnight ratings for Pittsburgh (19.4), Philadelphia (7.8) and Chicago (6.6) were NBC's best-ever in those markets for the NHL regular season, excluding Winter Classics. The 1.5 rating for Los Angeles was best for that market, excluding Winter Classics, since NBC's NHL regional telecast on March 4, 2007 (Colo-Det/Phil-Pitt/Caro-Atl; 1.8).
TOP FIVE MARKETS (Rating/Share)
With the games concluding between 6-6:15 p.m. ET, including what was a one-goal game for much of that time between the Penguins and Flyers, the coverage peaked at a 2.9 rating. Pre-game coverage (3-3:30 p.m. ET), which primarily consisted of the Kings championship banner raising, drew a 1.4 overnight.