In many ways, a Stanley Cup Final pitting the Los Angeles Kings against the New York Rangers — the teams with the league’s two biggest markets — is great for the NHL. One area in which the matchup might fall short of expectations, however, is in television ratings.
A big reason for that will be the absence of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks and their hockey-crazed fans were eliminated in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday night against the Kings, but the two teams set a record in the process. NBC Sports announced Monday that the winner-take-all showdown was the highest-rated NHL game in NBC Sports Network history.[tweet https://twitter.com/NBCSportsPR/status/473486967771258880 align=’center’]
That number is thanks in large part to Chicago’s group of dedicated hockey fans. Chicago posted a 22.7 overnight rating for Game 7, easily the highest-rated TV market in the country. However, there were three other markets that either surpassed or approached the number in Los Angeles (4.8).
1. Chicago (22.7)
2. Buffalo (7.3)
3. Los Angeles (4.8)
4. Minneapolis/St. Paul (4.3)
5. Boston (3.9)
New York scored the ninth-highest rating at 3.7.
The fact that L.A. wasn’t among the two top markets and New York almost couldn’t crack the top 10 gives an idea as to what the NHL could be looking at when it comes to Stanley Cup Final ratings. The league is probably hoping the Blackhawks’ fans (part of the third-biggest TV market) aren’t so broken up that they stop watching now that Chicago has been eliminated.