Update: The 7 game series averaged 4.6 million viewers, I'd say our polled readers were just a bit optimistic.
The NHL dodged a Stanley Cup Final TV ratings catastrophe last night with Boston's win over Tampa Bay. A Tampa Bay vs. Vancouver matchup would be ominously close to the all time low Ottawa v. Anaheim series.
Still, the US TV ratings picture is shaky compared to the last three fat years of high profile teams from big Eastern/Midwest US markets. Vancouver's local market fans won't count in the Nielsen's US ratings sample, and as a Pacific Time zone team, it's probably not been seen many times by the large fan base in the East.
Unfortunately, while the 2009 and 2010 Stanley Cup Final average viewership's were well above those for any year since 2002, I only have household ratings for them, not average viewership. Because they were split between NBC and Versus and I could only find the NBC only averages (which were 6.1 million for 4 games in 2010, and 5.6 million for 5 games in 2009).
What's your guess for this year's average viewership?
NHL Stanley Cup Finals TV Ratings, 1995-2010
|Year||Net||Games||HH||HH Share||Avg. HHs (million)||Avg. Viewers (million)||Teams|
|2010||NBC/VS**||6||3.4||6||Chicago v. Philadelphia|
|2009||NBC/VS**||7||3.1||6||Pittsburgh v. Detroit|
|2008||NBC/VS||6||2.6||5||2.929||4.479||Pittsburgh vs. Detroit|
|2007||NBC/VS||5||1.2||2||1.307||1.764||Ottawa vs. Anaheim|
|2006||NBC/OLN**||7||1.8||3||1.994||2.834||Carolina vs, Edmonton|
|2005||NHL Season Cancelled|
|2004||*ABC/ESPN||7||2.2||4||2.366||3.286||Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Calgary Flames|
|2003||*ABC/ESPN||7||2.4||4||2.557||3.627||New Jersey Devils vs. Anaheim Ducks|
|2002||ABC||3||3.6||7||3.815||5.768||Detroit Red Wings vs. Carolina Hurricanes|
|2001||ABC||5||3.3||6||3.371||5.058||Colorado Avalanche vs. New Jersey Devils|
|2000||ABC||4||3.7||8||3.734||5.511||New Jersey Devils vs. Dallas Stars|
|1999||FOX||3||3.4||6||3.379||4.873||Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres|
|1998||FOX||1||3.3||6||3.230||4.830||Detroit Red Wings vs. Washington Capitals|
|1997||FOX||1||4.0||8||3.930||6.370||Detroit Red Wings vs. Philadelphia Flyers|
|1996||FOX||2||3.6||7||3.430||5.090||Colorado Avalanche vs. Florida Panthers|
|1995||FOX||2||3.4||8||3.254||5.210||New Jersey Devils vs. Detroit Red Wings|
*ABC had 5 telecasts & ESPN had 2 telecasts so this is the combined average of both networks.
**2006 NBC had 5 telecasts & OLN had 2 telecasts so this is the combined average of both networks. 2009 NBC had 5 games, Versus had 2 games. 2010 NBC had 4 games, Versus had 2 games.
Data for 2006-10 is Live+SD, all previous years is Live viewing.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2011 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.