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Shootout classic between U.S. and Russia sets NBCSN record for most watched hockey game in network history

Feb 16, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 8 - United States v Russia Getty Images

The numbers are in, and they’re fantastic. In fact, they’re record-breaking.

The NBC Sports Network averaged 4.1 million viewers for Saturday’s instant classic between the U.S. and Russia in the men’s hockey preliminary round at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. That sets a record for the most watched hockey game in the network’s history, according to a press release.

Numbers peaked at 6.4 million viewers, between 10-10:30 a.m. ET.

“The telecast of Team USA’s memorable men’s hockey victory led NBCSN to its best-ever daytime viewership (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,” according to a statement released by the network.

Saturday’s game also achieved history as the most streamed game in NBC Sports history. The spectacular viewership numbers weren’t just restricted to a single platform.

Minneapolis had the highest household ratings share at 15.7. The top-10 markets included Denver, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Ft. Myers, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Boston and Seattle.

It’s not hard to see why so many people tuned in. It was not only a highly anticipated match-up between two powerful hockey nations, but it featured some of the best players in the game, like Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Quick – among many others.

Of course, there were the shootout heroics of T.J. Oshie, who scored four times in the deciding skills competition to lift the U.S. to victory.

Oshie’s performance under such pressure prompted massive reaction from across the hockey world, including peers and media. There was even a tweet from the White House sending its congratulations.

  1. csilojohnson - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    Are those last two paragraphs mandatory? i feel like ive read that in every article since.
    Go USA

  2. oquintero99 - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    Could have been a lot more viewers if NBC would of aired it on the open air channel.

  3. blomfeld - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:43 PM


    and may it be that America triumphs !!! :) :) :) :)

    signed, The House of Blomfeld

  4. narfmoo12 - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    The irony was that ESPN finally wanted to show highlights of a hockey game, but couldn’t because NBC owns the exclusive rights.

  5. alicesrightfootesq - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    Weird how Ft Myers always shows up in the markets with highest household ratings.

    • chanceoffleury - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      I promise if you go there you will never ever think that is weird ever again. FULL of Minnesota/New England People. The Naples and Fort Myers areas are basically small pieces of New England and Minnesota slapped onto the western side of the everglades. They even have a ECHL team down there that draws decent crowds (the Everblades). Nothing like Miami or Fort Lauderdale. I lived in Southwestern FL for a few years for college and it was never hard to find people to watch hockey with. Next to the Sox and Twins, hockey seemed to be the most discussed sport!

  6. brimab - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    Wow, that’s impressive. After all, NBCSN has such a storied history, going all the way back to 2012.

  7. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    I was trying to figure out “why Oshie?” after the first three shooters, and he showed me why. Going shot for shot with the talented Russian forwards, against last years Vezina winner… I have a whole new respect for the Blues forwards. And I think I’d take Quick over any goalie in this tournament in a make-or-break situation. USA!

  8. nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:17 AM

    This is impossible. Fight fans insist no one will watch hockey unless we know there will be tough guys punching each other, you know, to prevent injuries and stuff.

    • jhaegs - Feb 17, 2014 at 4:59 AM

      Dustin Brown should’ve been punched in the face… by Russia and USA players.

  9. djshnooks - Feb 17, 2014 at 5:21 AM

    They say Minnesota is “Hockeytown”…

    Well Upstate, NY has just about as many players in the Olympics…Orpik, Kane, Brown, Callahan, Howard, are all from the area. Many others are from the area if you were to include Southern Ontario which is technically the Buffalo area of New York.

    Glad to see folks tuning in to watch…glad to see hockey expanding around here! Won’t be long til we’re Hockeytown, USA!

    • purpleguy - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      Actually Minnesota claims to be the “State of Hockey”, and Detroit and Warroad, MN (Oshie’s hometown) apparently claim the “Hockeytown” moniker. Not only does Minnesota have more players in the Olympics than NY, it led the country in viewership while NY wasn’t even in the top 10. I’d say NY has a ways to go.

  10. s2mikey - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:06 AM

    As someone else pointed out, they should have ran it on regular NBC which is available over the air and they’d have had three times the viewers. This just in: cable and pay TV is soooooo outdated. Get with it.

  11. pavelfitzgerald - Feb 17, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    Those numbers are shockingly low considering Murica’s size

  12. Jeff - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:48 AM

    Just goes to show that Olympic hockey > NHL hockey.

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