Stanley Cup Ratings Winner for NBC

Kris Versteeg, Ben Bishop
The Associated Press

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.