2018 NHL conference finals see boost in TV ratings

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The NHL will be happy to see some good ratings news. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Audience sizes for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs conference finals are up 15 percent compared to last year, the network announced Wednesday. It’s some good news for the NHL after regular season ratings in the United States were down on both NBC and locally.

The 11 games in the conference finals involving the Golden Knights, Jets, Capitals and Lightning have recorded an average audience of 1.91 million viewers across television, online streaming and the NBC Sports app, which is the best since 2015 and a 15 percent increase from last year.

The Eastern Conference Finals between Washington and Tampa Bay have averaged 2.03 million viewers, which is up five percent over last year and a high since 2013. The Capitals’ Game 6 victory, which forced a Game 7 set for Wednesday night, averaged 2.22 million viewers, making it the second-most watched game of the playoffs after Penguins-Capitals Game 6.

The Western Conference Finals between Vegas and Winnipeg have broken through with an average of 1.77 million viewers, which is up 23 percent over last year’s series between the Ducks and Predators. It’s the highest-rated West finals not involving the Blackhawks since 2002’s series between the Avalanche and Red Wings.

Pittsburgh has the highest local rating (4.22) for the playoffs, followed by Las Vegas (3.13), Buffalo (2.9), Nashville (2.53) and Tampa (2.3).

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