The 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Finals featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Redwings averaged 4.48 million viewers, a 154% increase in average viewers over the 2007 finals between Ottawa and Anaheim and a 117% increase on a household ratings basis. This year's finals had a HH rating of 2.6 versus last year's 1.2. In both years the games aired on Versus and NBC. This year's finals went six games, last year's went five games.
It was the most viewed Stanley Cup Finals since 2002 when the Detroit Redwings vs. Atlanta Thrashers Carolina Hurricanes had a HH rating of 3.6 and was viewed by 5.77 million.
Obviously the matchups matter quite a bit in all sports, and the NHL was fortunate this year to feature two very strong hockey cities in the finals. Still, ratings and viewer increases of well over 100 percent are a very nice tick up and, hopefully for the NHL a nice reversal of trend.
Note to the statisticians: The statistics with the HH ratings get tricky because we only get one decimal, in truth the on a household basis using actual homes the games were up 124% (2.929mm vs. 1.307mm). Viewers can increase more because the games averaged more than one viewer per home. This year's finals averaged 1.53 viewers per household, last year's averaged 1.34 viewers per household