The 2011 Stanley Cup Final began with the highest rated opener since FOX held NHL rights in the late 1990s.
NBC earned a 2.7 final rating and 4.562 million viewers for Bruins/Canucks Game 1 Wednesday night, up 17% in ratings and 3% in viewership from last year (PHI/CHI G1: 2.3, 4.428M), and the highest rated Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final since 1999 (BUF/DAL G1: 3.4, FOX).
Keep in mind Game 1 aired on cable (ESPN or VERSUS) from 2000 to 2008. In 2009 and 2010, Game 1 aired on Saturday night.
The last time a Canadian team played in the Stanley Cup Final was 2007, when the Senators lost the Ducks in five games. Game 1 of that series drew a 0.5 U.S. rating and 769,000 viewers on Versus. The first game to air on NBC (Game 3) drew a 1.1 and 1.631 million viewers.
As previously reported, Boston was the top market for Wednesday’s game, with a 25.5 rating. Providence, RI (16.7), Buffalo (7.2), Hartford, CT (5.5), and Pittsburgh (4.3) rounded out the top five.
Game 1 drew a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49, up a tick from last year (1.7). Among men 18-49, the game drew a 2.3.