The COVID-19 Pandemic pushed back the start date of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) 2020/21 season to January 13 2021, building huge anticipation among hockey fans. According to data presented by Safe Betting Sites Canada, the NHL 2020/21 season’s opening game had a tv audience of 932,000 – the largest season opener tv audience since 2014.
932,000 Viewers Watched NHL’s Opening Night – Largest Since 2014
The NHL season opener was broadcasted by NBCSN and was held on January 13th 2021. The Philadelphia Flyers hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins and defeated them 6-3 in what was the first NHL game in 10 months. The game attracted an average of 932,000 TV viewers making it the largest opening day TV audience since 2014 and the 3rd largest in the last decade.
The viewership of this season’s opener was a 29% increase from the previous season’s opener. The game also peaked with 1.26M viewers and had an estimated Nielsen TV rating of 0.48. An additional 50,000 viewers are estimated to have watched the opening game through NBCSN’s streaming service, giving it a combined viewership of 972,000 making it the most-viewed regular-season NHL game on NBCSN.
Pandemic Pushed Back Opening Game For Several Months Which Built Anticipation
Rex Pascual, sports editor at Safe Betting Sites noted the pandemic’s effects on tv viewership;
“The NHL’s high opening game viewership is right in line with what we saw among other sports leagues with the NBA and MLB also reporting their highest figures for a time. After professional sports was essentially halted around the globe in March 2020, sports fans had to endure an unusually long period without being able to watch games. Combine this with more people staying at home due to lockdowns in different cities and you were bound to see a spike on opening night.