The Chicago Blackhawks clinched the National Hockey League championship with a flourish Monday night and so did NBC, which scored the second-most-watched Game 6 and most-watched Stanley Cup Final since 1994.
NBC's June 24 telecast averaged a 4.7 household rating and 8.16 million viewers between 8:15 p.m.-11 p.m. as Chicago scored two goals in a 17-second span late in the third period to secure its Stanley Cup in four years with a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Since data became available in 1994, that delivery trailed only the 8.54 million watchers who witnessed Boston beat Vancouver in Game 7 to win the 2011 Stanley Cup and the 8.28 million who viewed the Blackhawks top the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 to win the 2010 NHL title, according to Nielsen data. Monday night’s telecast was up 52% and 66%, respectively, from the 3.1 rating and 4.93 million viewers for the Los Angeles Kings’ 6-1 Cup-clinching Game 6 triumph over the New Jersey Devils in 2012.
Game 6 peaked with 10.4 million viewers from 10:45-11 p.m.
The taut Stanley Cup Final – over the course of four games on NBC and a pair on NBC Sports Network, the teams were tied or within one goal 87% of the time – averaged 5.76 million viewers, the most since Nielsen data became available in 1994. This year’s Original 6 confrontation grew 83% and 91% from the 1.8 rating and 3.01 million viewer mark from 2012’s Kings-Devils championship series.
All told, the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which followed a lockout-shortened regular season, averaged 1.47 million viewers on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC over 84 games, making it the NHL’s most-watched postseason since 1997, when ESPN/ESPN2/Fox averaged 1.52 million watchers and was up 18% vs. 1.24 million last year.
The 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs set new records for NBCSN, averaging 1.21 million viewers for 55 games, up 17% from 1.03 million over 52 games last year. NBCSN and CNBC combined to average 1 million viewers over 72 playoff telecasts, making the just completed campaign the most-watched postseason on cable since ESPN/ESPN2 averaged 1.02 million in 1999.
Three of the five most-watched NHL games in NBCSN history occurred this postseason: Stanley Cup Final Game 3 (4 million viewers), Stanley Cup Final Game 2 (3.96 million), and Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals between Chicago and Detroit (3.35 million).