2013 Stanley Cup Final Most-Viewed Since At Least ’94

Posted by | June 26, 2013 at 3:01 AM

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)

Past decade

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(Series averages from NBC Sports Group press box; 2006-12 averages from Sports Business Daily; 2003-04 averages from bizofhockey.com)

  • ChasInNJ

    That audience number looks more impressive when you consider Game 6 was on independent stations in Detroit and Seattle. WDIV in Detroit aired an annual fireworks show; KING5 in Seattle didn’t want to disrupt its local news.

    • Eric Griffith

      Or less impressive when you consider that it still wasn’t drawing enough to justify pre-empting the local news…

  • JakeFrankie

    I don’t care if you could consider this impressive at all, You get under 6 Million viewers in the most watched Series since 1994, Besides the New York Rangers you have the 2 biggest market teams for Hockey. Not counting the Kings cause nobody cares about them. I love when people take time to bash the MLB on there ratings for regular season, When Hockey at it’s best is getting under 6 Million viewers. How can this sport not be in trouble? Soccer is going to surpass it before we know it. NHL needs to learn how to market there league and stars badly. The ratings went from terrible to bad, I wouldn’t consider that much of anything. MLB or NBA’s Worst TV ratings smashes NHL’s best ratings enough said I guess.

    • richarddickmilhousdastardly

      I just love it when hockey “haters” ignore the following facts when they try to make it sound like the sport is going to die. #1 You conveniently ignored the fact that hockey is unique in that a large % of the viewers live in Canada and that never gets factored in the final ratings #2 Hockey Stanley Cup never did get larger viewing numbers then baseball World Series, but the fact that the lead for baseball was much smaller then in the past for 2012 World Series shows how far baseball has fallen. #3 Numbers are impressive when you consider the fact large numbers of minorities African American’s and Hispanics will never watch the sport plus a large majority of the Sun Belt as well. It’s the same reason why the Summer Olympics get higher viewer numbers then the Winter games. #4 How is Hockey in trouble when major markets have competitive teams with record attendance and local TV ratings. NHL was never and will never be a national sport it’s a local regional sports with a strong passionate fan base that has and will always keep this sport alive. Hockey has always has been more about tickte sales (in some markets they draw better then NBA) then TV ratings. Lastly MLS Soccer will never get over 2 million supporters to turn out for a victory parade like they did for Chicago Blackhawks nor will Soccer ever get that passionate of fan base in the USA other then the Hispanic/foreign community.

      2011 MLS CUP despite having LA GALAXY IN David Beckham’s final match only drew a 0.8 rating. In 2012 it was even worse 0,5 797,000 (Regualr season WNBA games on ABC/ESPN have been getting better ratings.) Consider this as well COVERAGE on FOX for the UEFA Champions League final ratings for 2013 was 0.9 1.4 million viewers. In 2012 1.1 2.0 million and 2011 1.3 2.6 million as it featured Manchester United vs Barcelona.