Touching All the Bases

NHL And NBA Postseasons Were Both First-Rate, And There’s Some Proof In The Numbers


The Kings clinched their second Stanley Cup in three years Friday night, eliminating the Rangers in five games.

In the same number of games, the Spurs wiped out the Heat — Sunday’s Game 5 was surprisingly lacking in suspense — to win their fifth championship of the Tim Duncan era.

It’s — let’s see — June 16, and the winter sports seasons are officially over.

All that’s left is to check the ratings and determine those winners.

Let’s start with the season that ended sooner:
NBC Sports Group televised a record 93 games this postseason — in other words, every playoff game was televised nationally.
The result, according to NBC via information provided by Nielsen: The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs were the second-most watched since 2006, the year NBC and what is now NBC Sports Network regained exclusive playoff coverage, and the fourth-most-watched on record (or since 1994). NBC, NBCSN and CNBC combined to average a 0.87 household rating and 1.445 million viewers.
The top three: 1996 (1.564 million on Fox/ESPN), 1997 (1.523 million on Fox/ESPN), and 2013 (1.471 million, which featured the Bruins and Blackhawks).
The Rangers-Kings final was the fifth in the past 20 years to average more than five million viewers, delivering a 3.01 household rating and averaging 5.001 million viewers. The decisive Game 5, a 3-2 Kings victory in double overtime, brought a 3.7 household rating and an average of 6 million viewers for NBC.
Boston drew the fourth-highest rating for Game 5 (6.3), trailing Los Angeles (12.4), New York (10.4), Buffalo (9.2).
Last year’s Bruins-Blackhawks matchup, which went six games, remains the most-watched Final series, averaging 5.753 million viewers.


The Spurs-Heat sequel drew better numbers for ABC than did the original.
The 2014 NBA Finals averaged 15.52 million viewers and earned a 9.3 household rating. That is up from the 15.12/9.1 the first five games of last year’s series drew.
Game 5 was up 10 percent from a year ago, with 17.88 million viewers. Viewership peaked at 22.4 million in the game’s final half-hour despite a relatively easy win for the Spurs.
The game earned a 10.3 rating for ABC. Last year’s Game 5 had 9.5 rating.

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