SBD/June 21, 2013/Media

Stanley Cup Final On Pace For Best Rating Since '97, Best Viewership In 20 Years

The NHL Stanley Cup Final is averaging a 3.1 U.S. rating and 5.4 million viewers through four games on NBC and NBC Sports Network, marking the best four-game Cup average since ’97 and the best viewership in at least 20 years. Viewership records date back to ’94. The previous high rating was a 3.3 on Fox and ESPN in ’97 for the Red Wings-Flyers four-game sweep. NBC/NBCSN also is up 107% and 118%, respectively, from a 1.5 rating and 2.5 million viewers through four games for Kings-Devils last year. The two networks also are seeing a big jump among key male demos. Ratings are up for males 18-34 (+118%), 18-49 (+117%) and 25-54 (107%). NBC finished with a 3.8 rating and 6.5 million viewers on Wednesday night for the Blackhawks' 6-5 win in OT over the Bruins in Game 4. The same game aired on NBCSN last year. Viewership peaked in OT (11:15-11:30pm ET) with 8.2 million viewers (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

'13 BRUINS-BLACKHAWKS NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL AUDIENCE
DATE
DAY
NET
GM
START
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
6/12/13
Wed.
NBC
1
8:00pm
3.9
6,358
6/15/13
Sat.
NBCSN
2
8:00pm
2.0
3,964
6/17/13
Mon.
NBCSN
3
8:00pm
2.3
4,001
6/19/13
Wed.
NBC
4
8:00pm
3.8
6,459
FOUR-GAME AVERAGE ========>
3.1
5,356
'12 KINGS-DEVILS NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL AUDIENCE
DATE
DAY
NET
GM
START
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
5/30/12
Wed.
NBC
1
8:00pm
1.8
2,902
6/2/12
Sat.
NBC
2
8:00pm
1.7
2,943
6/4/12
Mon.
NBCSN
3
8:00pm
1.0
1,743
6/6/12
Wed.
NBCSN
4
8:00pm
1.2
2,069
FOUR-GAME AVERAGE ========>
1.5
2,460
             

WHERE IS THE LOVE? In Boston, Gayle Fee writes Bruins-Blackhawks is the "most exciting Stanley Cup Final tilt in recent history," so why is ESPN "ticking off so many fans with their coverage -- or lack thereof?" Former NHLer Cleon Daskalakis said, "I love ESPN, so it's a little sad they have that mentality. This time of year I automatically turn on the NHL Network." WEEI-FM host Gerry Callahan said, "Game 4 was one of the most exciting games in sports history and you have to watch LeBron James cut his toenails and adjust his headband before they get to hockey." But ESPN PR News Content Dir David Scott "defended the sports channel's coverage." He said the NBA Finals are "the biggest story nationally." Scott "disputed the notion that ESPN is ignoring" the Stanley Cup Final, noting that Game 4 coverage "led the overnight 'SportsCenter' shows and that there is lots of online content" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/21). Also in Boston, Chad Finn writes ESPN's Steve Levy and Barry Melrose do "fine work" covering the Final for the net, but since it "lost the rights, the sport has fallen somewhere down the depth chart as a priority." Levy said, "I'd love to have hockey back on ESPN. I miss it a lot. I can tell you there are so many people here, behind the scenes, who really love the sport." He added he and fellow "SportsCenter" anchors John Buccigross and Linda Cohn "fight the fight every day" to get more NHL highlights on the show. Levy: "The people who make those decisions, they have the final say, but we're always trying. I want to champion the sport" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/21).

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