Despite missing out on a seventh game, the 2013 Stanley Cup Final still earned the largest audience in at least 19 years on NBC.
The six-game Blackhawks/Bruins NHL Stanley Cup Final averaged a 3.3 U.S. rating and just under 5.8 million viewers on NBC, up 83% in ratings and 91% in viewership from last year’s six-game Kings/Devils series (1.8, 3.0M), and up 22% and 26%, respectively, from the seven-game Bruins/Canucks series in 2011 (2.7, 4.6M).
Blackhawks/Bruins ranks as the most-viewed Stanley Cup Final since at least 1994. Only one other series over the past decade has averaged at least five million viewers — the Blackhawks’ 2010 win over the Flyers (5.2M). Other than the Blackhawks’ two victories, one would have to go back to Red Wings/Hurricanes in 2002 to find a Stanley Cup Final that surpassed the five million mark (5.1M).
The series was also the first Stanley Cup Final to have a year-over-year increase since Blackhawks/Flyers in 2010, ending a two-year streak of declines.
The top game of the series was the clinching Game 6 (8.2M). Overall, three games drew more than six million viewers — Game 1 (6.4M), Game 4 (6.5M), and Game 6. This year marked the first time since 2008 that at least two Stanley Cup Final telecasts topped the six million mark, and the first time since 2002 that every game of the series drew at least a 2.0 rating.
Overall, the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged just under 1.5 million viewers across NBC, NBC Sports Network, and CNBC — up 18% from last year (1.2M), and the most-viewed postseason since 1997, when FOX, ESPN and ESPN2 averaged just over 1.5 million.
Averages For the Stanley Cup Final (Ratings and Viewership)
(Series averages from NBC Sports Group press box; 2006-12 averages from Sports Business Daily; 2003-04 averages from bizofhockey.com)