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NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs first round delivers record audiences for Turner

NY Rangers’ game seven win against Pittsburgh Penguins reaches 2.3m average viewers.

18 May 2022 Rory Jones

Getty Images

  • Average of 1.7m viewers watched Tampa Bay Lightning’s game seven win over Toronto Maple Leafs
  • First round of playoffs saw 60% YoY audience increase
  • Female audiences up 83% on 2021 across TNT and TBS

The first round of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Stanley Cup playoffs on Turner has become the most-watched ever on US pay-TV.

Across the TNT and TBS pay-TV networks, games in the opening round of the North American ice-hockey league’s playoffs averaged 812,000 viewers across 25 broadcasts, the highest ever figure for that stage of the NHL post-season.

Warner Bros Discovery-owned network Turner Sports also confirmed the New York Rangers’ game seven overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins drew an average audience of 2.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Stanley Cup finals match since 2018.

Similarly, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s game seven win over the Toronto Maple Leafs reached an average audience of 1.7 million viewers.

Encouragingly for Turner in the first year of its US broadcast partnership, viewership was up 60 per cent year-over-year (YoY) on the first round of last season’s NHL playoffs, which aired on NBC. Female viewership was up 83 per cent YoY and up 49 per cent on 2019.

On the digital front, engagement with Bleacher Report’s coverage of the first round across the brand’s social platforms was up 104 per cent on the entire 2021 post-season. The US media company’s content on the ‘Open Ice’ Instagram account alone reached 2.9 million users during the first round.

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