Game 7 Draws a Massive 7.5 Million Viewers


Photo Credit: The Pensblog

Photo Credit: The Pensblog



Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on NBC drew a terrific 7.51 Million Viewers on Friday night, with a 3.0/11 among Adults 18-49.  It made NBC easily the top draw on Friday night, and is likely the highest-rated hockey game in many, many years, and may be the most-watched hockey game of the decade, as the largest competition is 2003’s Game 7 between the Devils and Ducks.

The game peaked in the 10PM hour with a huge 9.04 million viewers watching the Cup being awarded to Sidney Crosby’s Penguins, and a 3.7/12 among Adults 18-49.  The game’s lowest point was the 8-8:30 PM half-hour, where the game drew 5.78 million viewers and a 2.2/9 in the demo.

Regardless, the NHL brass will look at this as one of those watershed moments for hockey, where more people have watched a game than in years.  When the CBC numbers get added in, it is likely the game will cross the 10 million mark, making it the first hockey game since the 2002 Gold Medal Match between the U.S. and Canada to do so.

Congratulations to the Penguins on their Championship.  The NHL will likely be pimping it for decades.


29 Responses to Game 7 Draws a Massive 7.5 Million Viewers

  1. Chris says:

    CBC and RDS will get 4-4.5 mil combined.

    look for about 11 to 12 million on this one..and a peak around 13-14 mil combined

  2. Keith says:

    Great news for the league and the fact that Pittsburgh and Detroit aren’t the only markets that can move the meter, as shown by Chicago, Boston and Washington, means we don’t have to have Pittsburgh and Detroit in every Cup Final.

  3. Sean says:

    Incredible numbers for the 3rd period! Everything came up right for the NHL up to and including an awesome 3rd period with the Detroit goal and the frantic finish.

    So not only did the NHL get a ridiculous audience, they showed off the absolute best of hockey. My girlfriend is a very, very casual NHL fan and she was losing it. I can’t imagine she was the only one who was drawn in last night.

    Has the NHL found its Jordan-era Bulls with Crosby, Malkin & the Pens??

    • Praveen says:

      I am a Pens fan, but I think the NHL needs to cool it with the Crosby overhyping. I think it actually does Crosby’s image a major disservice. He is a great hard worker who, i feel, was Pittsburgh’s best players until the COnference Finals, but with the personality of oatmeal. Talbot and Malkin have more interesting personalities and were actually the stars of the finals and it would have been interesting if the NHL people had assisted NBC and especially the NHL Network with more colorful features on Malkin and Talbot. It’s like the NHL isnt dynamic enough to adjust their marketing on the fly.

      It seems like the league got the hint when Ovechkin was hyped too during teh Caps series. But they reverted back to the ridiculous Crosby overhyping during the finals.

      NHL Network actually spent 5 min on some canned footage of Crosby’s life tribute during the hour right after the Cup finals. Crosby is not Lebron. He is more like Larry Bird, Malkin is like Magic.(except they play on the same team). Ovechkin is one of a kind. The league needs to start marketing the game like in the early days of the Stern era instead of the go for broke All Jordan all the time era(though Jordan was more dominating in his sport than the great Crosby who has two or three peers at or close to his level).

      But great to see viewers tune into the game on a rFriday night. It is sad that it still cant outrate a less interesting Anaheim-Devils series, if the notes here are true. So Bettman should not give himself too much credit. It’s the players that sell the league better than the managers. Still a good series. Not as compelling as the Rangers dynamic run in 94 which had classic Conference Game 7 and Finals Game 7, but still great, and I love it as a Pens fan. I wonder how that Rangers series did in the ratings.

  4. J.M. says:

    This was incredible. After this, I don’t think that the sports world can credibly ignore hockey as one of the great games in America. Now the NHL really needs to follow this up with another strong year, and get that ugly situation in Phoenix worked out one way or the other. The last thing the league needs now is that story to take front and center stage for hockey.

  5. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that the NHL made it to prime time TV. But the cutaways to interviews while the cup was being passed from player to player meant I missed Jordan Staal’s moment with the Stanley Cup. They could have done the sound from the interviews while continuing to show the video of the passing of the Cup. HNIC or CBC wouldn’t have made that mistake.

  6. Tsn says:

    NOt impressed i expected more to be honest. Good start if we could only get rid of NBC and get ABC then the leauge is back in business. Get differnt teams in the finals like a Rangers, Flyers, Capitals, Hawks and a Kings apperence could make the leauge really relevent.

    • Al says:

      “Get ABC back”—That’s the most dumb and asinine thing I ever read. Do you understand ABC left as an NHL broadcaster before ESPN did. If there was a 2004-2005 season, NBC would have broadcast games 3-7 of the Final and ESPN would have games 1-2. ABC left because the NHL ratings sucked and they had the NBA Finals, more the latter reason. ESPN still would have televised about 40 games, the All-Star Game, and the Playoffs.

      After the lockout, ESPN didn’t renew its option and left. That’s why the NHL went to Versus.

      ESPN and ABC’s coverage sucked after the 2001-2002 season, they got the NBA rights and cutback on NHL telecasts. In 2004, ESPN canceled NHL2Night BEFORE THE STANLEY CUP FINALS TOOK PLACE. This was way before the World Cup of Hockey in August and the lockout.

      ESPN treated the NHL like it contained the swine flu. They avoided at almost all costs after the 2002 season. And another thing, the ESPN announcers (Especially Thorne, Levy, etc…) SUCKED ASS. I’m a Caps fan who hates Pittsburgh and I would listen to the Penguins’ Mike Lange before those bozos.

      Finally, ESPN cut the number of hockey broadcasts down from 102 in 2001-2002 to 70 and 71 in 2003 and 2004, respectively. They increased the amount of gamess for every other sport and added the NBA!

      ESPN/ABC didn’t want the NHL after they acquired the NBA, CASE CLOSED. They flat out quit. These are absolute FACTS.

      • Praveen says:

        When ESPN quit, the NHL was at a low when it came to superstars. Versus lucked out with the timing. Like I said, people would expect this superstar laden series to easily outrate the Hurricanes finals where they lost or prior Cups. The fact that it isn’t shows how much damage the league did to itself in the first half of this decade. Part of the problem was also the cyclical nature of talent infusion.

    • Keith says:

      ABC coming back means ESPN comes back, because ABC sports doesn’t exist anymore. Once they lost Monday Night Football to ESPN, they changed it from ABC Sports to ESPN on ABC. That’s why Al Michaels left the network, he wanted nothing to do with ESPN. So if you are on the side of not going back to ESPN, you can’t want ABC because it means ESPN.

      • Praveen says:

        Keith is right. ABC sports is now ESPN on ABC. THey even run the ESPN type scroll during ABC sporting events. It’s all the the whole Disney corporate strategy of efficiency crap.

  7. leafsfan1967 says:

    >>> if we could only get rid of NBC and get ABC<<

    What difference would switching to ABC make?

    • Sean says:

      Yeah, thats about the dumbest comment Ive heard on here. I think the NHL will be on NBC for a while since NBC has horrible primetime program, the NHL probably feels loyalty because NBC gave them a shot after the lockout and there really isn’t a viable alternative. CBS is the #1 network, ABC has the NBA and Fox has too much Nascar in the spring. I could see Fox wanted the finals, doubt theyd want the whole NHL package.

      • Praveen says:

        The only change I would make to the NBC package is getting rid of Pierre Mguire and Milbury as lead analysts. Their opening fake speeches in the empty locker rooms smacked of the predictable ego filled behavior they indulge in on the broadcasts. Darren Pang is the most interesting and viewer friendly shorty baldy. I would bring in Larry Murphy as an analyst as he is always fun to watch with his enthusiasm on the NHL Network.

        Emrick is great . I love the guy. Even when he does his local Devils games, he doesn’t show much bias. As a Pens fan, his enthusiasm reminds me of the great Mike Lange without the quirky descriptions of plays.

        I think they need to try to recruit Messier or someone who has more credibility in the league to replace Milbury.

  8. Chris Wassel says:

    Nice to see the big numbers on a Friday Night…just imagine if the officiating had been just a little better. But as any hockey fan…we will take the numbers and hope that the NHL can take advantage of it.

  9. nosferatu says:

    To me, the big issue with NBC is just the scheduling. How many more viewers would we have had if the game had been on Sunday through Thursday? Hopefully this will be different next year. The fact that Conan won’t be starting the Tonight Show in a year, and the fact that this year’s ratings were a success, will hopefully convince NBC and the league to do it differently.

    One good thing with NBC is that I’ve always found the network’s picture quality – across the country on just about all affiliates I’ve seen – to be much brighter and crisper than other networks. Is this crazy talk, or is there something to this?

  10. Scotty says:

    I just don’t understand the ESPN hate. Here’s the deal. The NHL is going to be partners with what ever network has the Winter Olympics. 2 reasons, hockey is the winter olympics as far as team sports go, and 2 the NHL players play in the Olympics therefore by showcaseing them on the same network you have the Finals on, you try to catch viewers. So for 2010 they stay with Versus/NBC. If ESPN/ESPN on ABC get the 2014 Winter Games the NHL will go there. And remember if the NHL goes back to ESPN they will have to make an overhaul of their talent. I wouldn’t necessarily assume it would be the same as it used to be. And yes ESPN has the NBA but last time I checked unlike Versus ESPN has 3 channels to show games on. And another note if ESPN on ABC has both the NBA and Cup Finals then we won’t see any stupid nights with both playing.

  11. Russell says:

    ESPN has the NBA now and would always mke the NHL 2nd fiddle and put what few games they did on espn2.Keep it on NBC or go to FOX.

    • Praveen says:

      Is it just me, or has there been less NBA playoffs on network TV?

      FWIW, ESPN2 still has more reach then Versus.

  12. Tsn says:

    Espn coverage could the following Thursday Night on ESPN and Saturdays or Sundays on ABC (ESPN on ABC) and Sunday Night on ESPN2. NBA and NHL on the same day starting at noon on ABC. Stanley Cup finals on espn and ABC. Good contract. The NHL could keep versus for a Monday and tuesday games. Versus could keep maybe a conference fianls series and share it with ABC weekends. The next winter olympics right I believe are going to be up for grabs. Fox, ESPN and Cbs are all going to go for them. CBS i doubt will pick up hockey. Fox would kill it with idiots like Joe Buck being t he studio host. ESPn is the safest bet.

    • Dave Sullivan says:

      The league made the deal with NBC because ABC refused to televise hockey any longer. There is no deal that is going to result in ABC televising the Finals, no chance. And the Olympics are a signature property for NBC. I wouldn’t count on them giving up the rights without a big fight.

  13. john says:

    no need to abandon vs, or even nbc; however, not be on espn is like a movie company or record studio not making their cds/dvd availible to buy at wal mart

  14. Al says:

    I just wanted to clarify what I said earlier about ESPN, I would be happy if they broadcast the NHL if they treated the league fairly. I understand football, basketball, and baseball are more popular than hockey.

    Sometimes I think ESPN takes cheapshots at the NHL and doesn’t cover NHL news because it’s promoting another network. If ESPN gives hockey a fair shot w/ more than a couple of minutes on Sportscenter and ESPN Radio most nights than I would fully endorse bringing back ESPN.

    • Praveen says:

      Nothing prevented Versus from doing a brief hockey post game during the FInals Game 5.6.7. It’s not like Versus is filled with a lot of must see programming. ESPN actually devoted a decent amount of time to the NHL coverage this playoff run. Not enough, but better than the alternatives.

      BTW, the NHL Network dropped the ball during the playoffs. THey kept running a one hour show on a loop and even that one hour show seemed to have a lot of redundant crap. And their post game coverage of the Cup victory was extremely lazy. How about having their crew be more mobile in the arena catching fan reactions, different sights around the arena, reactions from other NHL notable celebs watching the game.

  15. john says:

    the game is being reaired on espn classic.

  16. Bryan says:

    Great number. And great job on the coverage, Steve.

    One thing nobody really has discussed while trashing the NHL for putting Game 7 on a Friday – a lot of people go out on Friday nights to restaurants, sports bars, and the like. How many people who never would have watched hockey ended up watching Game 7, saw the Cup being raised, liked what they saw, and might be more inclined to tune in next year?

  17. E says:

    Anyone have the final overall ratings numbers for GAme 7? Not just the 18-49 and number of viewers. I am looking for over all ratings?

  18. Pingback: Puck Headlines: NHL Cup ratings blockbuster; Cuban on Balsillie | Lancilo USA

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