Game 7 between Kings, Blackhawks sets TV ratings records in US

A lot of people tuned in to see LA eliminate Chicago. (Getty Images)
A lot of people tuned in to see LA eliminate Chicago. (Getty Images)

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Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals between the Kings and Blackhawks had the feel of a Stanley Cup Final clincher with the quality both of the games and the teams competing. Viewers on television apparently felt the same.

In what has become a trend the NHL has to be downright giddy about, NBC Sports Net set new records for viewership on Sunday night. It seems that we say this every offseason now in the NHL, showing the sport's popularity is only continuing to rise.

Specifically the NHL's American TV partner set records for viewership in both of the markets involved in the game (Chicago and LA) as well as setting a new national rating, beating out even Stanley Cup Final games that aired on NBCSN that included last season's Original Six showdown between the Blackhawks and Bruins.

Chicago really loves its Blackhawks, holy cow. Keep in mind that rating doesn't account for people watching the game at the arena or how many people were watching in groups, at the local sports bar, etc. NBC is going to miss Chicago in the Final.

But don't be fooled by LA's low-looking rating, that's a strong number. Many laughed at the fact that Buffalo had a 7.8 rating for the game but given the size of LA's market, that 4.8 rating represents a large number of eyeballs, close to 300,000 and just the same as Chicago, that has no way of monitoring group viewings or watch parties.

No doubt the NHL's best-case scenario from a ratings standpoint in the Cup Final would have been the Rangers against the Blackhawks but Kings-Rangers should put up strong numbers given they are the two biggest television markets in the NHL. Plus there's that whole allure of LA vs. New York.

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