The Los Angeles Kings’ overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final set a new overnight ratings record for NBC Sports Network – drawing a larger audience than any game in the network’s history, including Stanley Cup Final games.
The 3.17 national rating surpasses the previous ratings record set in 2013 by the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final (3.10).
Hmmm … what’s the common denominator here … ah, yes, the Chicago Blackhawks fan juggernaut. Chicago delivered its highest-ever local ratings for an NBCSN telecast with a monster 22.7 rating. Los Angeles also delivered its best NBCSN ratings at a 4.8; it ranked third in the nation, however, behind Buffalo (7.3 … how big, exactly, is Patrick Kane’s family?).
The top five markets on Sunday night:
1. Chicago 22.7
2. Buffalo 7.3
3. L.A. 4.8
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul 4.3
5. Boston 3.9
For comparison’s sake, Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final drew 2.1 million viewers on NBCSN. New York drew a 3.7 rating for Game 7 on Sunday night, as Rangers fans tuned in to see their next opponent.
More good news for the NHL on U.S. television: NBC has moved Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final to the big network, airing it right after a potential Triple Crown win in the Belmont Stakes. From Sports Media Watch:
Game 2 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final drew 4.0 million viewers on NBCSN, and the last Game 2 to air on NBC (2011) earned 3.6 million. This year’s Game 2 figures to surpass those totals easily and surpass last year’s Game 5 (5.6M) as the most-watched Saturday night Stanley Cup Final game since Devils/Avalanche Game 7 in 2001 (6.9M).
It’s expected that a Kings vs. Rangers Cup final isn’t going to generate the ratings that a Chicago vs. New York final would have, and seeing those local numbers in the Windy City would seem to back that up.