Who says a Stanley Cup Final involving a team from Canada won't do well in the States?
The early returns from NBC show the exact opposite.
Last night’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, which featured the Vancouver Canucks defeating the Boston Bruins, 1-0, produced the best overnight rating for a Game 1 in 12 years. The broadcast generated a 3.2 overnight rating and 6 share up 14 percent compared to last year’s Game 1 (Philadelphia-Chicago, 2.8/6) and the best overnight for a Game 1 since 1999 (Buffalo vs. Dallas, 3.7 on Fox).
Boston was the top-rated market on the night with a 25.5/39, the highest-rated NHL game in Boston dating back to at least 1995, and topping the Boston rating for last year’s NBA Finals Game 1 featuring the Celtics-Lakers (19.1/34).
This is the first Stanley Cup Final featuring a Canadian team since the Ottawa Senators faced the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. The 3.2 overnight for last night’s game is 113 percent higher than the first network broadcast of that series (1.5/3 for Game 3).
Top Metered Markets For Game 1
1. Boston, 25.5/39
2. Providence, 16.7/24
3. Buffalo, 7.2/11
4. Hartford, 5.5/8
5. Pittsburgh, 4.3/7
Or, maybe CBSSports.com comrade Ray Ratto put it best on Twitter: "Game 1 NBA Final, best rating in 7 years; Game 1 SC Final, best in 12 = A lot more people sitting on their asses than ever."
Now clearly Boston and the New England region are doing a lot to carry the numbers for NBC -- destroying the Celtics in last year's Finals? I guess the B's truly do reign in Beantown this time of year -- but one city won't cause that big of a jump across the entire nation. It's pretty clear: the NHL is taking steps every year to build (or regain) its fanbase.
Perhaps it won't be such a bad thing after all for the NHL to lose one of the biggest American markets (Atlanta) to a much smaller market in Canada (Winnipeg).
Too bad for the NHL it couldn't negotiate a new television deal after getting increased ratings across the board.
-- Brian Stubits