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NHL started its $1 billion deal with ESPN and Turner Sports – here’s how many people watched the season openers

Pittsburgh Penguins middle Evan Rodrigues (9) has a break free and Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a save in the course of the NHL Hockey match between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins on October twelfth, 2021 at Amalie Enviornment in Tampa, FL.

Andrew Bershaw | Icon Sportswire | Getty Photos

The Nationwide Hockey League commenced its 2021-22 season on Tuesday. It is also the primary yr of its $1 billion media rights bundle with ESPN and Turner Sports activities.

The networks mentioned the NHL averaged 884,000 viewers for ESPN’s doubleheader on Tuesday, and Turner drew roughly 669,500 viewers for its Wednesday nationwide slot. Each figures are up from the NHL’s common for its final two season openers.

ESPN’s first recreation featured the Pittsburgh Penguins beating defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-2. That recreation averaged 984,000 viewers, on Tuesday, and peaked over a million viewers, in accordance with ESPN, who used metrics from analysis firm Nielsen.

The Disney-owned community added the 2021 contest topped its final highly-rated NHL opener in Oct. 2001 between the Penguins and Colorado Avalanche. That 2001 opener attracted 927,000 viewers.

ESPN additionally debuted enlargement franchise Seattle Kraken who fell to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, 4-3. The sport averaged 782,000 viewers and in addition peaked at over a million viewers. The community mentioned streaming metrics from ESPN+ aren’t included within the viewership stats.

By comparability, the primary recreation of the NHL’s 2020-21 season-opener averaged 972,000 whole viewers on NBC’s sports activities community. That contest featured the Philadelphia Flyers and Penguins and was the most-watched regular-season recreation on NBCSN.

Different video games from final season’s tripleheader included the Chicago Blackhawks in opposition to the Lightning and Avalanche versus St. Louis Blues. The mixed telecast averaged 774,000 viewers, up from 600,000 viewers the season prior.

Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals shoots the puck in opposition to the New York Rangers in the course of the second interval at Capital One Enviornment on October 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Patrick Smith | Getty Photos

The NHL ended its 16-year partnership with NBC Sports activities and reached a $1 billion bundle with ESPN and Turner Sports activities final April.

On Wednesday, TNT rolled out its doubleheader nationwide bundle and included some crossover enchantment. The community featured star NBA commentator Charles Barkley within the pregame present of the Washington Capitals’ 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers. The sport averaged 817,000 whole viewers, and peaked at 920,000 viewers round 9:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m ET.

Within the contest, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin scored twice to maneuver into fifth all-time. Ovechkin, 36, has 732 profession objectives and desires 163 extra to go Wayne Gretzky’s NHL file of 894 goals. TNT mentioned it averaged 522,000 whole viewers for the second contest that includes the Avalanche beating the Blackhawks, 4-2.

On the promoting entrance, metrics agency EDO estimated the automotive class led with 15.4% of advert spend for this season’s NHL openers. Eating places made up 12.9% and insurance coverage had 11.9% of advert spend. EDO added Apple commercials led search engagement. It is a metric the corporate makes use of to measure on-line search exercise for manufacturers within the minutes following TV advertisements airing.


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