Dreams came true for NHL executives on Sunday when NBC announced that Saturday’s Stanley Cup Finals game 1 between the Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks was the most watched opening game of the finals in 11 years.
“The game—broadcast by NBC Sports on the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend—also saw a 12-percent increase over last year’s Game 1 (Pittsburgh vs. Detroit, 2.5 on NBC), which was also on a Saturday night but not played during Memorial Day Weekend and was between the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins, featuring Sidney Crosby.
The 2.8 overnight rating also ranks as the highest overnight rating for a Game 1 played on a Saturday in 13 years (since 1997 Detroit-Philadelphia, 5.1 on Fox).
Chicago led all markets with a 16.8 rating and 35 share. Philadelphia followed with a 13.2 rating and 25 share.”
The two big-market powerhouses, Philly and Chicago, were expected to do extremely well in TV ratings which left the NHL drooling over the promise of a long, competitive series. And if the 11-goal game 1 was any evidence of the series to come, expect bigger ratings for game 2 and beyond.