|2013 Stanley Cup Final opens with most-watched Game 1 since 1997
June 14, 2013
The power of an Original Six match-up helped given the NHL its biggest Stanley Cup Final Game 1 U.S. television audiences in 16 years Wednesday night as the Chicago Blackhawks outlasted the Boston Bruins in triple overtime.
Playing at the United Center in Chicago, the Blackhawks used an overtime tip-in by Andrew Shaw to beat Tuuku Rask and the Bruins 4-3 after rallying to erase a two-goal deficit in the last 12 minutes of regulation time.
It marked the first-ever Stanley Cup Final meeting between the two Original Six brands.
In terms of overnight ratings measuring the biggest urban centres in the U.S., Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final scored a 4.8, double the 2.4 delivered last year in Game 1 between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils. That represented the biggest overnight rating since Game 1 between the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers, a 5.2 in 1997 (and the second biggest rated NHL Stanley Cup Game 1 telecast since the advent of people meters in 1987).
The preliminary results represented a Nielsen rating of 2.4 and share of 7 among viewers in the 18-49 age group and projected a U.S. national average audience of 6.4 million viewers.
The final ratings showed 6.358 million viewers as the average U.S. national audience over the five-hour game (8 p.m. ET-1:06 a.m. ET). The final national rating was 3.9, up 117% over last year’s opener.
Viewership peaked in the first overtime period at an average of 7.444 million viewers.
Boston received a 28.1 local household rating, up 10% from Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks. Chicago’s local rating was 25.5. The other top U.S. TV markets for the NHL Wednesday night were Providence, R.I. at 18.5, Buffalo at 8.5 and Milwaukee at 6.1.
The Canadian television audiences for Game 1 on CBC and RDS were scheduled to be released today.
“The most remarkable thing is that it is a 4.8 over almost six periods of hockey, including two hours played after 11 p.m. ET in the populous eastern markets,” said sport business commentator Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TEAM 1040 in Vancouver and TSN 1050 in Toronto. “There’s no doubt in my mind we would be talking about something in the neighbourhood of 5.2 or higher if only regulation time and maybe the first overtime were factored into the average audience.”
For NBC, Game 1 gave it the highest-rated show on U.S. network television.
The doubling of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final continued a trend of strong year-over-year comparisons that showed the NHL’s 2013 conference finals doubling last year’s. NBC and NBC Sports Network averaged 2.65 million viewers for its Blackhawks-Kings and Bruins-Pittsburgh Penguins series, despite lasting only nine games out of the maximum 14. That was more than double the 1.25 million American viewers who tuned into Kings-Phoenix Coyotes and Devils-New York Rangers in 2012 (over 11 games that included two double OT results).
Like Game 1 of the Final, those U.S. conference finals numbers were the NHL’s best in 17 years when Fox and ESPN checked in with 2.86 million viewers over 13 games.
Overall, the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs are the league’s second-most watched in 16 years, behind only last year’s four-round tournament. The strong ratings culminate a lock-out shortened 48-game regular season.
For more visit:
The Associated Press in the Globe and Mail
Josh Hill of SI.com
Wayne Friedman of Media Post News and mediapost.com
TheSportMarket.biz with files from Josh Hill of SI.com, Wayne Friedman of Media Post News.