June 05, 2011
As you can see, Taran Killam of "Saturday Night Live" and lovely actress Cobie Smulders of "How I Met Your Mother" were in the house for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. And that's pretty much where the sexy U.S. television news ended on Saturday night.
The blockbuster, record-setting Game 1 ratings have yielded to Game 2 ratings that Steve Lepore of Puck The Media calls "mediocre" for NBC:
Game 2 drew a mediocre 3.37 million viewers, and a 1.2 rating among Adults 18-49. This is down 43% from Game 2 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final (which aired on a Monday, and drew 5.91 million viewers), and down 27% from Game 1 of this series (which drew 4.56 million viewers on Wednesday). The 1.2 in the demo, while good enough to win the night on broadcast television, was down 34% from Game 1. It was also a 50% drop from Game 2 of the 2010 Final, which again, aired on the more viewer-friendly Monday night.
This was the least-watched Stanley Cup Final broadcast on network television since Game 5 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, which drew 2.87 million viewers.
Again, we all figured matching those numbers, or the numbers from the Detroit/Pittsburgh Finals, was going to be a challenge for the 2011 Final. The local ratings in New England led to a Game 1 surge that covered for the lack of ratings from the Canadian market (which don't count in the Nielsens). It'll be interesting to see the local market breakdown for Game 2, and which ones eroded the most from game to game. Remember, the action shifts to VERSUS for Games 3 and 4.
Again, it's a Saturday night, when viewership in the U.S. is traditionally the lowest (and where struggling TV series go to die); and it's a Saturday night in June, no less. Context is everything, and those reasons (plus the Canadian team involved) are key factors for the 43-percent drop year-to-year. But context was also key in the League's boast about "best ratings in 12 years" after Game 1.
Did the 48-hour gap between games hurt the ratings, too?