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Game 7 of 2011 Stanley Cup finals ties best Game 7 overnight ratings on record

Jun 16, 2011, 12:51 PM EDT

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Seven Getty Images

With the NBA finals far enough in the sporting world’s rear view mirror, the NHL gained the opportunity to be the center of attention in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday. That powerful position – plus the undeniable drawing impact of a huge, historic hockey market like Boston and its surrounding areas – made for some impressive ratings for NBC and the NHL.

The Boston Bruins 4-0 win drew a 5.7 overnight rating and 10 share, which ties the overnight ratings earned by a SCF Game 7 since the 2003 Stanley Cup finals between the Anaheim (Mighty?) Ducks and the New Jersey Devils. That also represents a 14 percent increase from the most recent Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals, which took place between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings in 2009.

Yup, that means Tim Thomas & Co. beat Sidney Crosby, Nicklas Lidstrom and a bevvy of other stars from that series just two years ago.

The game earned the second-best overnight rating for a Stanley Cup finals game in the last 36 years, behind only Game 6 in last year’s series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, which drew a 5.8 overnight rating and 10 share (one can only imagine the ratings that would have been generated for a Game 7 between those two teams). It was also the highest overnight rating for a Stanley Cup final game involving a Canadian team in 38 years.

The ratings were especially mind-blowing in Boston:

BOSTON SETS RECORDS: The Boston market earned a 43.4 rating and a 64 share, the best overnight on record for a hockey game in Boston (dating back to 1991) and the best overnight in the Boston market featuring a Boston team in any major sports championship since Super Bowl XLII (Patriots-Giants, 55.6 on 2/3/08).

Boston’s seven-game average for the Stanley Cup Final (five games on NBC, two games on VERSUS) was a 28.1/44, 12 percent higher than ABC’s seven-game Boston average for last year’s NBA Finals (25.0/40 for Boston-LA Lakers).

Here is a list of the six best Stanley Cup final Game 7 ratings since 1995:

T1. 6/15/11, Boston-Vancouver, 5.7/10 – Last Night’s Game
T1. 6/9/03, Anaheim-New Jersey, 5.7/9
3. 6/9/01, New Jersey-Colorado, 5.5/11
4. 6/7/04, Calgary-Tampa Bay, 5.3/8
5. 6/12/09, Pittsburgh-Detroit, 5.0/10
6. 6/19/06, Edmonton-Carolina, 4.1/7

Finally, here are the top 10 U.S. markets for the game:

1. Boston, 43.4/64
2. Providence, 25.9/38
3. Buffalo, 10.6/17
T4. Detroit, 8.7/14
T4. Hartford, 8.7/13
6. Pittsburgh, 7.6/12
7. Denver, 7.2/14
T8. Minneapolis, 6.7/12
T8. Las Vegas, 6.7/11
10. St. Louis, 6.2/10

Perhaps there might have been a “novelty factor” to the Bruins winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, but something tells me that the NHL wouldn’t be too offended if Boston makes another trip to the championship round. (You can vote on that possibility in this poll, by the way.)

  1. habsman - Jun 16, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Perhaps there might have been a “novelty factor” to the Bruins winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, but something tells me that the NHL wouldn’t be too offended if Boston makes another trip to the championship round.

    Wouldn’t be offended? Just bring back Colie Campbell in charge of discipline and its all but assured. (Just like this year).

  2. nhlbruins90 - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Yeah, a Chicago – Boston game 7 would have blown the lid off the ratings. But Vancouver worked just fine. I imagine there were some happy faces this morning at NBC. We may still be #4, but from a business perspective, that new 10-year deal is looking pretty smart. Combined with the Olympic rights – the NBC, Versus and digital platform have a good thing going.

    The Boston ratings are staggering. Only the Superbowl championship of ’08 did better. This is an A-list hockey town again. I suspect we’ll see a whole lot more of the B’s on Versus next year, and NBC. Love us, or hate us … either way we’ll get ratings.

    One number that jumped out at me was the Nashville rating. They played the Canucks in the previous series and they had a hell of a run this year, so it makes sense that interest is high there. They’re my favorite ‘underdog’ team, so maybe a few Versus games next season? And what to make of Vegas baby? Funny, the desert town without a team delivers a big rating, and the desert town with the NHL club delivers about half the rating. Go figure.

    I hear that Chara was hoisting the Cup from the balcony of his place in Boston today, much to the delight of the folks walking by with their cameras. The parade is Saturday. Catch it if you can. This town is electrified by this team.

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