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by Ken Schott

Parting Schotts

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Ken Schott blogs about college hockey & more

NBC does well on 'Championship Saturday'

NBC Sports had a pretty good "Championship Saturday" with its coverage of the Belmont Stakes and Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final.

The network and Nielsen announced Sunday that an average of 20.6 million viewers watched the Belmont, where California Chrome failed in his attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. It's the the second-highest Belmont Stakes viewership on record (since 1988), trailing only the 21.9 million viewers for NBC’s telecast of Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt in 2004. It topped, by 57 percent, the average viewership for the last Belmont in which a Triple Crown was at stake (13.1 million on ABC in 2008 for Big Brown).

The race had a 12.0 rating and a 27 share. That is a 46 percent increase over the 8.2/20 for ABC’s Big Brown telecast in 2008, and ranking as the third-highest rated Belmont since Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown in 1977. NBC’s telecast of Smarty Jones’ bid in 2004 registered a 13.1/29, and CBS’ coverage of Pleasant Colony’s Triple Crown attempt in 1981 posted a 12.6/36.

Here are the top metered markets for the race portion of the telecast.
1 Louisville 21.1/38
T2. Ft. Myers 19.2/36
T2. Sacramento 19.2/39
T2. West Palm Beach 19.2/35
5 Baltimore 17.3/36
6 Tampa-St. Pete 16.8/32
7 Orlando 16.4/32
8 Buffalo 15.9/36
9 New York 15.8/37
T10. Boston 15.6/36
T10. Knoxville 15.6/30

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings' 5-4 double-overtime win over the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Cup final averaged 6.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched Game 2 on record since at least 1994. The game was up 60 percent from. last year's Game 2 on NBCSN (Bruins-Blackhawks, 4.0 million), and up 121 percent vs. 2012’s Game 2 on NBC that also featured the Kings (Kings-Devils, 2.9 million).

Viewership for the game peaked in the final quarter-hour (11:30-11:45 p.m.) with 7.6 million viewers. The 7:15-7:30 pregame quarter-hour, which immediately followed Belmont Stakes coverage, averaged 9.1 million viewers.

The game got a 3.7 rating. The broadcast was originally scheduled for NBCSN, but was moved to NBC in order to take advantage of the Belmont Stakes Triple Crown lead in.

Here are the top metered markets for the game.
1 New York 10.5/21
2 Los Angeles 8.9/21
3 Buffalo 8.1/17
4 Boston 6.9/14
5 Minneapolis 6.4/14
6 West Palm Beach 5.8/11
7 Providence 5.6/11
8 Pittsburgh 5.5/11
9 Las Vegas 5.3/10
T10. Chicago 4.9/10
T10. San Diego 4.9/12
T10. St. Louis 4.9/9

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