Seven months ago, there was serious worry for the health of the sport of hockey, or at least the NHL. During the days of the lockout, it was beginning to become a valid question whether or not the NHL was a business that was legitimately viable in the United States.
Well, if TV ratings are any indication, those questions have been answered with aplomb.
The 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks averaged a 3.3 rating in the U.S. on NBC, coming in at about 5.8 million viewers, according to Sports Media Watch. Here’s some context: This year’s Cup Final was the most watched since 1994.
Additionally, 2013 represents the first year-over-year increase in viewership for a Cup Final since 2010, ending two years of declining ratings. 2013 was up 91 percent in viewership from last year’s Kings-Devils Cup Final.
Viewership may have been sparked by the fact that both teams in the Final came from healthy hockey markets, and both are Original Six teams, driving up some nationwide interest. However, it’s certainly a good sign that the health of the NHL may not be as fragile as some assumed.