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2013 Stanley Cup Final delivers record ratings for NBC

Jun 25, 2013, 7:16 PM EDT

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Getty Images

The numbers are in, and the grand conclusion of this year’s Stanley Cup Final was another boon for the National Hockey League, NBC and the NBC Sports Network.

According to the NBC Sports Group, Game 6 of the 2013 final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks was watched by 8.16 million viewers, making it “the most-watched game of the final.” The number of viewers for Game 6 peaked at 10.424 million.

But it gets better for NBC.

This year’s final averaged 5.76 million viewers across NBC and and NBC Sports Network, making it “the most-watched Stanley Cup Final on record.” (Data goes back to 1994)

It’s not hard to figure out why. The final between the two Original Six teams provided constant thrills, exceptional hockey and came down to the wire in all six games.

Three games were decided in overtime, including that spectacular triple overtime game to begin the series.

The drama hit its peak when the Blackhawks scored twice in a span of 17 seconds late in the third period to reverse a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead, before hanging on for the final 59 seconds of regulation time to defeat the Bruins 3-2 and claim the Stanley Cup.

That makes it the second Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks in the last four years.

So, where does Monday’s game rank compared to the other “most-watched” playoff games for NBC?

The 4.7 household rating from Monday put it third on the top-five list of “most-watched” NHL games on NBC, dating back to 2006.

Below is the info graphic from NBC Sports Group. (Viewers in millions)

Rank Program Episode Date Rtg Viewers
1 Game 7 Boston at Vancouver 6/15/2011 4.8 8,537
2 Game 6 Chicago at Philadelphia 6/9/2010 4.7 8,279
3 Game 6 Boston at Chicago 6/24/2013 4.7 8,160
4 Game 7 Pittsburgh at Detroit 6/12/2009 4.3 7,992
5 Game 6 Detroit at Pittsburgh 6/4/2008 4.0 6,781

The 2013 playoffs – not just the final – also included three of the five most-watched NHL games in NBC Sports Network history. (Viewers in millions)

Year Game Teams Viewers
2013 Stanley Cup Final, Game 3 Chicago @ Boston 4.001 million
2013 Stanley Cup Final, Game 2 Boston @ Chicago 3.964
2010 Stanley Cup Final, Game 3 Philadelphia @ Chicago 3.600
2009 Stanley Cup Final, Game 4 Detroit @ Pittsburgh 3.448
2013 Conference Semi-Finals, Game 7 Detroit @ Chicago 3.354

“For the entire playoffs, NBC, NBCSN and CNBC combined to average 1.467 million viewers for 84 games, making it the most-watched Stanley Cup Playoffs on record (since 1994),” stated the NBC Sports Group.




  1. winefool - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Well done NBC. Taking over Versus and turning it into NBC Sports was an inspired move and NBCSN is now, for me, the most relevant all-sports network, leaving ESPN and FoxSports behind. NHL, Indycar, F1 Racing – all awesome!

    • elemeno89 - Jun 26, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Don’t forget about the Barclay’s Premiership as well dude! NBC Sports network truly is turning into one of my favorite channels…

  2. mnwildfan15 - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Hopefully next year they get it right and put the whole series on NBC. The numbers would have been even higher.

    • tbeilfuss - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      Dont hold your breath……or you will be holding for nine more years:


      “Continued sharing of the Stanley Cup Final on NBC (which will air Games 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7) and NBC Sports Network (Games 2 and 3).”

  3. northstarnic - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    So why is NBC so damn stingy about putting playoff games on their flagship network? I cut the cable a few years ago and I’m not going back. And I’m especially not paying extra for NBC sports network.

    • tbeilfuss - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:27 AM


    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:32 AM

      Join civilization and get cable

  4. clefty1 - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    It is nice to see ratings going up but the Stanley Cup final did not have to deal with the NBA playoffs or finals on the same night.

    • bullwinkle88 - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:41 AM

      That doesn’t matter. You are either a hockey fan or a basketball fan. Very few people are both.

  5. Troll_toll - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    What a great game we have.

  6. s2mikey - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Clefty is correct. The NBA would have out drawn the hockey by a solid margin. Why? They have more marketable stars and they have more casual fans that will tune into the playoffs or finals even if they aren’t really NBA fans. Hockey doesn’t have enough players that people come to see play and don’t market the ones they do have with any fervor. And, we all know that ONLY fairly big hockey fans will watch any hockey at all. That has to change or well be fighting for good coverage forever. NBC did great but too many games were on that damned NBCSN channel. Killed it for us cord cutters.

    • mp1131211 - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      The nature of hockey is team oriented, not star palyer oriented. That’s harder to market to Americans who like to focus on the “super-hero” efforts of individuals instead of the combined efforts of each player doing the right thing at the right time.

      Hockey may never be the number one sport for Americans, but who the hell cares. Its freakin’ badass!

    • hawkscup2013 - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      Go away

    • stakex - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:38 AM

      That’s not why the NBA, or NHL, or MLB is more popular then hockey. It might have a slight bit to do with it, but that’s not the main reason at all. It much more complicated then marketing. The major problem hockey has is that the other major sports are played by almost everyone extensively at times in their life…. as where relatively few Americans will ever touch a hockey stick. If you grow up playing basketball, baseball, and football those are the sports you are going to watch.

      Also, its too fast for most Americans to keep up with. Biggest complaint I always hear about hockey is “I can’t follow the puck”, and if you can’t follow the puck what point is there in watching? Fox even tried to change that with the FoxTrax puck back in the 90’s… and it didn’t work.

      Does marketing have something to do with it? Perhaps, but there comes a point where people just don’t care about hockey no matter how much money to spend trying to convince them they do.

      • mp1131211 - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        Those are good points, but I disagree with you. Good marketing can easily build a sport that no one plays. In fact, I would say that the lack of youth hockey is even irrelevant to the success of the NHL. Good marketing- big marketing projects- do not “sell products”, they create markets and create “buyers”. And there is absolutely no need to play a sport to watch it on TV and purchase tickets to see a game or buy a sweater. Those things, as much as fans might not want to admit it, are only slightly dependent on the actual content of what you are watching/buying. Countless hours of TV programming are utter crap, yet people watch. Countless events are filled with absolutely nothing of value for the attendees, but people go for the experience, to be a part of the hype, and to be a part of all the other things that go on in the stands.

        The fact that Fox had that stupid tracker light on the puck in the 90’s and it still failed to attract good attention to the sport partly shows that it isn’t the speed of the game at all that is prohibitive.

        Bottom line is there is no iconic figure in hockey and there never will be. Almost everyone has heard of Gretzky, but very few people actually can close their eyes and picture him in a uniform- fans excluded. On the other hand, almost anyone can close their eyes and picture Jordan in a red bull uniform, can probably call out his number, and are familiar with his signature tongue out/mid air still frames. Hockey isn’t about super heros, but Americans are.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:31 AM

      If by marketable you mean criminal, multi-wedlock children, thugs who don’t have the time of day for fans then I agree.

  7. hockeyfan28 - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    NBC hockey coverage >>>>> ESPN coverage congrats guys and well deserved

  8. jimw81 - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    maybe the lockout was a blessing disguise.hopefully the momentum carries into next season and olympics.

  9. jhuck92 - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Wow, Chicago was involved in a lot of the most watched games. The ‘Hawks are putting up great numbers not only on the scoresheet, but in ratings as well.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:33 AM

      They also had the tornado and storms which had to have effected their viewership as well

  10. Jackson Scofield - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    Philadelphia @ Chicago Game 3? Funny since it never happened. Hawks had better record that year.

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    • bullwinkle88 - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:44 AM

      That’s funny because my mother-in-law skins critters and deep fries their skins to make place mats! What to know how? Just ask! Big earnings!!!

  12. badintent - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Bettman, next time you have a strike on your hands, just go straight to the playoffs, skip the regular season. Do us all a big favor and just put the American cities in. Canada hasn’t won a Final since 1990 and the present NBC contract doesn’t allow any team outside the US to win the Cup.Canada is too busy with hockey riots , union marches, flooding, Stampde, etc to bother with having a good hockey team. Just ask Toronto

    • bullwinkle88 - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:46 AM

      Is this a knock against Bettman, the union, the owners, Canada, or just hockey in general?

      • badintent - Jun 26, 2013 at 3:50 AM

        Ask Rocky or Natasta. They alone have the true answer to your question.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 26, 2013 at 6:02 AM

      Firstly, it wasn’t a strike. Secondly, do you remember Cleveland Indians vs. Texas Rangers (USA) riot in 1974? Or the Detroit World Series Riots in 1984. How about the Lakers riots after the Lakers beat the Celtics in the NBA Final in 2010? Thirdly, do you remember 80 percent of New Orleans being flooded due to the failure of several levees in August 2005 during Hurricane Katrina? “Browny! You’re doing a hell of a job.” -President wannabe G. W. Bush Perhaps you remember on 4 August 2010 a major thunderstorm producing large hail and winds in excess of 60 mph across the American Midwest, causing a flash flood that struck Louisville, Kentucky, and portions of the surrounding Kentuckiana region. How about The Great Flood of 1993? One of the most destructive floods in United States history. Union marches, we won’t go there. Busy with stampedes? Checkout the 2013 Rodeo schedule The U.S. are winning cups with the majority of players and hockey management being Canadians. too busy with terrorism and chasing whistle blowers as opposed to developing their own hockey talent. Point is if you’re going to be sarcastic be smart about it. Don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house.

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  14. iwillfindyou - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    I love it when ESPN tries to talk hockey. One of the funniest things on television.

  15. ilikejay - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Well said valoisjoeybfeld69!
    I am not Canadian, but I know better than to poke fun at the sad fact that Canada has not won her cup back in quite some time. And very many of my favorite players and coaches are Canadian. I secretly wish all those southern teams move back up to Canada where they are really appreciated. I love my Hawks! But I respect the fact that many of their stars are from Canada. I am grateful we have a league that allows them to flourish, and I do hope Canada can be proud of their achievements down here too.
    As for NHL being 4th, by far. I have this argue,end all the time. I don’t care. I never played, but always wish I did. I did not have the money for gear, or ice time, but I played a lot of street hockey. It was my favorite by far. But if kids don’t get to play it, they will not appreciate it on a tv screen period. Due to it’s restrictive nature it will always be handicapped for growth. But so what, why can’t we just enjoy it as it is, for what it is. Those of us who watch now, are on average far more dedicated to this sport than the other three.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:17 AM

      I lived in Southern California for 12 years. It was very surprising to see how many beer leagues existed, and I mean during the summer no less. Been to games in Anaheim, L.A., San Jose, Phoenix. Not surprisingly Phoenix had the smallest attendance, which is no surprise I’m sure, but for the fact they were playing the Kings. The crowds in Anaheim and L.A. were very diverse. Canadian implants, U.S. hockey fans, and surprisingly enough many Mexicans. As a person who grew up with skates in my feet in one of the original 6 cities I was very surprised. There is a very strong community of hockey fans in So Cal.

  16. buffalomafia - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    The networks did well for coverage!

    I think all games should show both American & Canadien national anthems?!

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