NBC Sports Network on pace for their best NHL season ever

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The shortened season has helped NBCSN to record audiences.

While the numbers aren't likely sustainable over the course of a full 82-game, seven-month long season, the NHL's 48-game schedule has worked out just fine for the NBC Sports Group.

According to Sports Business Daily (subscription required), NBC Sports Network is currently averaging a 0.3 rating (up 50 percent from 2011-12) and 448,000 viewers (up 35 percent) through 27 telecasts, with the viewership on pace to set a record for whatever NBCSN has been called (VERSUS/OLN) since it acquired NHL rights in 2005. Meanwhile, Wednesday night games have proven especially beneficial, as the network's Wednesday Night Rivalry series averages 682,000 viewers per week.

NBC Sports Network has featured both its most-watched (Boston vs. NY Rangers on Jan. 23: 956,000 viewers) and highest-rated (Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh on Feb. 20: 0.55 household rating) game in network history during the 2013 season.

NBC is also having good fortune, despite the lack of a Winter Classic. Through eight telecasts, NBC is averaging a 1.1 rating and 1.74 million viewers (both up 10 percent) this season. NBC's most-watched game this season was Blackhawks-Red Wings on Mar. 3, which drew 1.9 million viewers, best ever for a single game on the network, excluding Winter Classics.

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