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Bruins-Canucks 2011 Stanley Cup finals opener produces best Game 1 ratings since 1999

Jun 2, 2011, 1:09 PM EDT

Raffi Torres ; Tim Thomas;Johnny Boychuk AP

Going into Wednesday night’s Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, there was an intangible sense that the NHL was on fire. Almost every indicator pointed toward hockey going “up,” with maybe the best sign being that the Sports Business Journal named the NHL its professional sports league of the year.

That notion of positive momentum can be justified by the ratings for the first match between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks’ 1-0 win produced the best overnight ratings for a Game 1 since 1999, generating a 3.2 rating and 6 percent share. That 3.2 rating is a 14 percent increase from the 2.8 rating produced by Game 1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. Improving upon last year’s ratings is an especially impressive feat considering the fact that last year’s match featured two large American markets going head-to-head when the Philadelphia Flyers took on the Chicago Blackhawks. Having a Canadian team as one of the conference representatives didn’t derail a telecast that produced the best ratings since the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars produced a 3.7 rating for Fox in ’99.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the game was especially huge in Boston, with the 25.5 rating and 39 percent share topping Boston’s ratings for Game 1 of the 2010 NBA finals match between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers (which drew a 19.1 rating and 34 percent share).

Want more ratings information about Game 1? Check out these interesting details from NBC’s press release on the matter.

  • This is the first Stanley Cup Final featuring a Canadian team since the Ottawa Senators faced the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. The 3.2 overnight for last night’s game is 113 percent higher than the first network broadcast of that series (1.5/3 for Game 3).

Top Metered Markets For Game 1

1. Boston, 25.5/39
2. Providence, 16.7/24
3. Buffalo, 7.2/11
4. Hartford, 5.5/8
5. Pittsburgh, 4.3/7

It’s great to see the momentum continue in such a resounding way. Hopefully sports fans will remain just as interested in the next 3-6 games of this series.

  1. andyinsdca - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    I’d like to say it’s weird that Buffalo is so high, but it’s really not; all of the Sabres fans I know are rooting for the Broooins.

    And what do the Canadian TV ratings look like?

    • kristieml - Jun 2, 2011 at 9:26 PM

      One in every four Canadians watched game 1 between Vancouver and Boston. It was the third most watched sporting event ever in Canada, behind only the 2002 and 2010 Olmypics Mens’ Gold Medal game between Canada and the United States. One-third of Canadians watched the 2002 gold medal game and two-thirds of Canadians watched the 2010 gold medal game. :)

      • canadiansportsfan - Jun 6, 2011 at 3:43 PM

        Not true. Every Canadian hockey game at the 2010 Olympics beat it. I’d imagine some others from 2002 (Canada-Finland quarter in primetime for sure) beat it as well. It isn’t even the highest rated hockey game this year, that goes to the 2011 World Junior Final.

  2. miketoasty - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    I’m glad to see Pittsburgh on the top 5. I live in Pittsburgh and am tired of everyone just calling us band wagoners. I know that their are a log of people here that are but most of us just like the game of hockey, especially when you have 2 great teams like the Bruins and Canucks going at it, which proved to make for a great game 1.

  3. sknut - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    It’s encouraging the ratings are high, I am tired of people complaining they can’t find Versus (I know last nights game was NBC) but my point is people are interested and the ratings justify it.

  4. grudenthediva - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Well, that’s why Boston is there, so good.

    That and Lil’ Gregory, of course.

    • govtminion - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:16 PM

      Yeah, because constantly claiming Campbell gets preferential treatment never gets old. Is it that hard to believe that a team made it into the Finals simply because they’re the last team standing after the first three rounds? There has to be some mysterious conspiracy behind it?

      Let me help. Colin Campbell isn’t behind the Bruins’ success, the moon landing wasn’t faked, Tupac is really dead, and 9/11 wasn’t an inside job.

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