June 14, 2011
BOSTON — Raise your hand if you checked out of Stanley Cup Final Game 6 after the first period.
Luongo was chased, the Boston Bruins were in control, the Vancouver Canucks seemed like a team playing with another chance to clinch at home. There were times when watching the NHL's Rogers Arena fan-cam was more entertaining, and those people were burying their faces in rally towels and/or yawning for three hours.
So the NHL and NBC had that going against them in Game 6 on Monday night, along with the accepted drag on the ratings that is a Canadian team's participation. But according to Steve Lepore of Puck The Media, the potential elimination game still scored well:
Last night's Game 6, an easy win for Boston, drew a 3.9 overnight rating for the network, easily the highest-rated game of the 2010 season. Though this was down 33% from last year's epic Chicago/Philadelphia series closer — which drew a 5.8 — it is even from the last non-clinching Game 6 NBC aired, between Detroit and Pittsburgh in 2009, which also scored a 3.9. It is up a terrific 44% from Game 6 of the 2006 Carolina/Edmonton Final, which is the last Game 6 to feature a Canadian team.
Lepore writes that the total viewership numbers in the overnights was "an approximate 5.26 million viewers," and offers these local market numbers:
1. Boston — 33.3/48
2. Providence — 18.4/28
3. Buffalo — 9.1/14
4. Hartford — 5.8/9
5. St. Louis — 5.0/8
6. Detroit — 4.7/7
7. Minneapolis — 4.2/7
One still shudders to think what the numbers on this series would have been without Boston, Providence and Hartford carrying the ratings load in the U.S.
Game 7 of this series is going to be massive for NBC for a few reasons: The contentious nature of the series getting national attention, the incredible local appeal of the Bruins, the absence of the NBA Final to share the spotlight and the fact that it's in the middle of the week rather than on a Friday or Saturday. Hopefully the game lives up to the hype.