Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, June 02, 2021

cup-cast
For all the hand-wringing over the unconventional back-to-back gamenights start to this year’s Stanley Cup Finals, the strong Nielsen numbers from this past weekend indicate that the format is probably now a permanent feature:

The NBC telecast [of Sunday's 8PM airing of Game 2] drew a 3.4 rating and a 6 share. That’s up from the 2.6 rating and 5 share of Saturday’s Game 1. Detroit beat Pittsburgh 3-1 in Sunday night’s game to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

And those numbers are, indeed, a great showing, even compared to last year.

The stated intent in scheduling the start of the series with back-to-backs was to seamlessly sustain momentum, instead of playing a Game 1 and then taking a night off before following into the second match. The unstated intent: NBC doesn’t want to air hockey during the rarefied weekday primetime hours, so a Saturday-Sunday bloc was the only way to get the broadcast network coverage.

But whatever the machinations behind the scenes, it worked: A build-up in ratings points to the first game being an effective lead-in to draw more viewers the following night. For what it’s worth, Game 2 went head-to-head against this year’s MTV Movie Awards, which presumably would have drained away some of that coveted 18-34 year-old audience; despite that, the NHL increased the number of eyeballs.

Anything that kicks up the ratings isn’t going to be abandoned, so expect this formula to stay in place next year. Let’s just hope the league and the network don’t go hog-wild and extend the logic into unworkable illogic: Back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back for the entire seven-game series, hoping that the Nielsens increase each night.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 06/02/2021 11:52am
Category: Hockey, SportsBiz, TV
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2 Feedbacks »
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