Stanley Cup Final was ratings hit for NBC, within context

The Pittsburgh Penguins are ratings gold. That much we know. They’re the kind of market that can carry a national TV rating for the NHL against virtually any opponent, due to the volume of fans tuning into the games locally.

We always believed that the Nashville Predators, should they ever break through to the championship rounds, would also be a ratings force. Not only because of the fan mania locally, but because the Predators had become a regionally popular team in Tennessee and surrounding states over the last few years.

So the combination of the two in the six-game Stanley Cup Final ended up producing strong ratings for NBC.

Well, within context.

The 2017 Stanley Cup Final produced a “Total Audience Delivery” of 4.762 million average viewers, which measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the Average Minute Audience (AMA) for television and digital streaming.

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For example, Game 6 averaged a TAD of 7.086 million viewers, up 29 percent vs. last year’s Cup-clinching Game 6 on NBC featuring Pittsburgh and San Jose (5.476 million). That’s good!

That overall figure of 4.762 million average TAD is actually the “most-watched Final on record without an Original Six team.” That’s … evidence that NBC will continue to pump copious amounts of the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins into your cable feeds.

From Sports Media Watch:

The Penguins’ title-clinching win, which peaked with 9.4 million viewers from 10:45-11 PM ET, delivered the fourth-largest Game 6 audience since the Stanley Cup Final returned to broadcast TV in 1995. Blackhawks-Flyers in 2010 holds the top spot (8.5M), followed by Blackhawks-Bruins in 2013 (8.2M) and Blackhawks-Lightning in 2015 (8.0M).

The 2017 Stanley Cup Final averaged a 2.67 household rating across the six games on NBC/NBCSN, and the TV-only viewership averaged 4.679 million viewers, which was up 19 percent vs. the six-game 2016 Final. That’s good!

But again, within context, this is where the 2017 Final fell:

That’s … OK.

Across 84 games on NBC/NBCSN/CNBC/USA Network, the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged a TAD of 1.387 million viewers, up 11% vs. the 2016 postseason (89 games; 1.253 million). That’s with five Canadian teams whose cities don’t contribute local ratings to the NBC total. That’s good!

To that end, the North American numbers reaped the benefits of that Canadian involvement:

That’s really good!

But you know what would be great?

If NBC took the lessons from the postseason about “non-traditional markets” and Canadian teams and applied them to next season’s television schedule, which in 2016-17 had two Nashville games, one Leafs game and a combined zero Oilers, Flames and Senators games when it was released. Fans are clearly open to watching something beyond the same eight or so teams every night.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.