NBC's Rangers-Kings Double-OT Thriller Marks Best Cup Final Game 2 Viewership On Record
NBC earned a 3.7 final rating and 6.4 million viewers for the Kings’ 5-4 double-OT win over the Rangers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday from 7:15-11:45pm ET, marking the most-viewed Game 2 on record (dating back to ’94). Last year’s Blackhawks-Bruins Game 2 aired on NBCSN (2.0 rating/3.96 million viewers). NBC earned a 1.7 rating and 2.94 million viewers for Kings-Devils Game 2 in ’12. Saturday night’s game peaked at 7.6 million viewers from 11:30-11:45pm. The pregame from 7:15-7:30pm, which had a lead-in from coverage of the Belmont Stakes, averaged 9.1 million viewers. N.Y. delivered a 10.5 local rating, topping Game 1’s 10.1 rating as the market’s best figure on record for an NHL game on NBC. L.A. drew an 8.9 local rating (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
BELOW THE BORDER: SI.com's Richard Deitsch asked four NHL media personalities to "evaluate the quality of hockey coverage in the United States on all platforms." ESPN's John Buccigross: "The Internet has an extremely deep well of hockey coverage. Great analysis, excellent columnists, and a collection of scrappy beat writers with great character. The NHL Network is underfunded by the NHL and should be a much stronger entity, but it's still a good place for some highlights, analysis, and NHL content. The NHL on satellite radio is also an excellent source of hockey discussion." SI's Sarah Kwak: "I actually think the quality of coverage in the States is pretty good. It's the quantity in quality places (traditional major media outlets) that I think is lacking, particularly in the regular season. And because of that, I don't think there's a huge amount invested into hockey coverage." TSN's Bob McKenzie: "Twitter has allowed for a lot more voices to be heard and, for the most part, the more the merrier. The good people, regardless of whether they're from Canada, the U.S. or Europe, shine through. Those who don't have a lot to offer don't flourish." Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline: "The NBC Sports deal has been good for most fans. ESPN dictates the flow and glow of sports in this country, and it has some really good hockey people ... but the network at large has pushed the NHL to second-class status, both on TV and radio. ... Still, the game has grown and spread, and [NHL Commissioner] Gary Bettman was right to go with NBC" (SI.com, 6/8).