Online viewing figures for the first five games in the Stanley Cup playoffs have seen a rise of almost 500% based on the same set of games from last year, NBC reports.

NBC Sports live streaming services have reported 206,000 unique visitors which is a massive 482% increase on the 36,000 which tuned in last year.

The increase could be due in part to the increase in online viewers across the board, more and more fans are turning to the internet and other devices for their viewing needs.

However, NBC also reported substantial increases on their televised games. The Chicago Blackhawks and St.Louis Blues game was an increase of over 50% on a similar game on the network on 2013.

Meanwhile, games broadcast on NBCSN are up by an average of 61% on games from just 12 months ago.

The reports will come as fantastic news to executives within NHL who are fighting against a perceived lack of popularity within North American sports.

Both NFL and the NBA have soared ahead in popularity with a number of key demographics, whilst even soccer and MLB are seen as more popular leagues than the NHL.

Those executives within NHL and NBC will hope that the strong viewing figures stay for the duration of the playoffs.

NHL Playoffs