The Chicago Blackhawks won the first game of the Stanley Cup Final. So did NBC.
The network pulled a 4.23 national rating and a monster 28 rating in the Windy City. In Tampa, the locals gave the game, which saw the Lightning strike early only to lose late, a 17.9 rating.
The national metered-market rating ranks second only to the Game 1 record set by the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks from 2013 but slipped slightly in the 18-49 demographic from last year’s monster-market Kings-Rangers Game 1. It’s the highest rating for a hockey game ever in Tampa.
The viewership represents a little better than half the audience for an NBA Finals Game 1 audience and a little better than a third of a World Series Game 1 audience. The game drew slightly less than five percent of the eyes on the Super Bowl broadcast.
Game 7 of the 1971 Stanley Cup Final between the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks still holds the viewership record—at least in the United States. In Canada, Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final pitting the Boston Bruins against the Vancouver Canucks stands as the high water mark.
In both instances, the broadcasts left the record-setting audiences unhappy. The Canadiens won in the American TV record and the Bruins won in the Canadian TV record.