It took until just after 1am ET for the game to finally come to an end, but according to Deadline, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals hit a 16-year high in the TV ratings. The game topped last year’s Game 1 between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils and ended up being the highest rated show on network television on Wednesday night.
The game drew a 4.8 overnight rating, which is up 100% from the 2.4 overnight rating of last year’s Game 1 between the LA Kings and New Jersey Devils. Wednesday’s result was also the best overnight rating for an Stanley Cup Final Game 1 since the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers in 1997, which drew a 5.2 overnight rating on Fox.
The ratings boom for Game 1 shows that not only is hockey making a comeback with audiences in America, but people truly were glued to their televisions if the game posted an overnight 4.8 rating and literally went overnight in terms of how long it took to finish.
NBC didn’t have the competition of the NBA Finals which likely helped draw more viewers over to the game, and the lack of anything original on during the summer helps as well. Unless you’re really into Jeff Foxworthy and people in a cake competition, you were likely watching hockey and that’s evident in the ratings from the game.
The hope now is that the NHL can keep the ratings consistent throughout the series, and the thrills and chills of Game 1 will likely draw back most of the audience that watched on Wednesday. It’s great news for the NHL that the Stanley Cup hit a 16-year high in the ratings and it’s even better that it didn’t involve a team like Los Angeles or Pittsburgh who have built in markets and followings.