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Winter Olympics: NBCSN Nets Network Hockey Record 4.1M Viewers with U.S.-Russia Telecast

NBCSN’s coverage of Team USA’s thrilling triumph over Russia in men’s ice hockey propelled the cable network to its highest Nielsen mark ever with the puck sport, while triggering its best-ever daytime viewership.

The national cable sports network’s live presentation of the U.S.-Russie contest averaged 4.1 million viewers from 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. (ET), 4:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. (PT), according to Nielsen live+same-day fast national data. NBCSN’s presentation of American’s 3-2 win in the shootout, led by T.J. Oshie, supplanted Game 3 of the 2013 Stanly Cup Final between Chicago and Boston, which averaged 4 million watchers, as its most-watched hockey telecast ever.  

Viewership for the game peaked at 6.4 million in the 10 a.m. half-hour, during the eight-round shootout and now ranks as the  most-watched half hour in NBCSN history.

The U.S.-Russia contest led NBCSN to its best-ever daytime viewership of 2.9 million viewers, and marked the third consecutive weekend day that NBCSN set a viewership record after last weekend’s milestone opening Saturday and Sunday telecasts of the Sochi Games. This marks the network's second go-round with the Olympics, having covered the 2012 London Summer Games.

The Nielsens didn’t shine nearly as brightly in primetime, as NBC’s curated package on the second Saturday night from Sochi fell behind corresponding coverage from the 2006 Torino Games in viewership for the first time, and for the second consecutive night in ratings.

Last night’s primetime Olympics telecast on NBC averaged 17.1 million from 8:30-11 p.m. (ET), down 13% from 19.7 million from the corresponding night in Torino and 36% from the 26.7 million from the Vancouver Games, when most of the Peacock’s presentation was live. The Feb. 15 show averaged a 9.6 rating/17 share, down from an 11.3/19 in Torino and a 14.7/26 four years ago.

The current Games more than trebled the combined 5.3 million primetime viewership of ABC, CBS and Fox on Saturday night, and NBC's 9.6 rating more than doubled the 3.5 of its competitors.

With the Sochi Games, NBC has averaged 23.5 million viewers and a 13.2 household rating/21 share over nine nights from the Opening Ceremony through Saturday, Feb. 16, up 14% and 8%, respectively, from 20.6 million watchers and 12.2/20 from the corresponding span in Torino, the last Winter Olympics hosted in Europe.

NBC’s primetime presentation of the 2014 Olympics, though, was down 10.3% from Vancouver’s 26.2 million viewer average and 9.6% from its 14.6 rating over the first nine nights from the 2010 Games.