This year's Stanley Cup Final matches the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils.
How will the TV viewership end up?
Some data that may or may not assist in your guessing:
- Last year's 7 game SCF averaged 4.6 million viewers, the best ever for a broadcast/cable split SCF.
- Last year featured the Boston Bruins, certainly one of the bigger TV draws in hockey.
- Last year featured the Vancouver Canucks, who's local market did not count in the US TV ratings, which is what this poll's about (and may be all we see after the fact).
- NBC telecast games will draw far better than cable telecast games. Games 3 & 4 are on cable, the others are on NBC. Depending on how long you expect the series to go, you may wish to adjust your guesses.
- Besides the broadcast vs. cable factors, individual game viewership typically rises as the series goes longer. Five of the last eight series went seven games, but that's no guarantee that this year's will.
- Last year's polled readers were a bit too optimistic.
Unfortunately, while the 2009 and 2010 Stanley Cup Final household ratings were well above those for any year since 2002, I was unable to find average viewership for the SCF as a whole for those years. I could only find the NBC telecast viewership 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 US TV viewership?
NHL Stanley Cup Finals TV Ratings, 1995-2011
|Year||Net||Games||HH||HH Share||Avg. HHs (million)||Avg. Viewers (million)||Teams|
|2011||NBC/VS**||7||2.7||5||4.6||Boston v. Vancouver|
|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|
|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. 2011 NBC had 5 games, Versus had 2 games.
Data for 2006-11 is Live+SD, all previous years is Live viewing.
I know that average viewership and household ratings are meaningless to the business of NBC and NBCSN, but like most historical data that's all we've got.
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2012 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.