While Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals was far from a ratings blockbuster, it did show positive growth in America's two biggest television markets.
Game 1 drew a 5.1/8 in New York. It's the second-best rating for a Game 1 in New York on a broadcast network ever recorded. The best number for a Game 1 was during 1995 Stanley Cup Finals, which drew a 7.4/15 for Devils/Red Wings. It was also the best rating for a Stanley Cup Playoff game in New York since Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. This includes nine years of Rangers, Islanders and Devils playoff games. Game 1 is down from the 6.47 Eastern Conference Final high for Game 5 of that series, but that can be accounted to some Rangers fans tuning out after their team lost.
In Los Angeles, the game drew a 4.2/8. That's a Game 1 record for the Finals on broadcast television in Los Angeles, (the numbers go back as far as 1976). It's also the best number for a Stanley Cup Playoff in the market game since Game 5 of the Anaheim/Ottawa series, where the Ducks clinched their 2007 Stanley Cup with a 6.1/12 rating. To give you an idea of what kind of growth this shows, the Kings Game 5 clincher over the Coyotes last round drew a 2.9 on NBC Sports Network.
Aside from the two local teams, Buffalo again came through with it's vast collection of hockey fans. The city's 7.8/12 led all markets (though due to Buffalo being so small, it likely came nowhere close to the viewer numbers in NY and LA). Minneapolis/St. Paul actually tied with Los Angeles for third (New York was second), while Pittsburgh and -- get this -- Oklahoma City tied for fifth. Seriously. Not Detroit, not Chicago, not Boston, not Washington... Oklahoma City.
Final national ratings for Game 1 will be posted here later this evening.
Top Local Markets for Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals
- 1. Buffalo - 7.8/12
- 2. New York - 5.1/8
- t3. Los Angeles - 4.2/8
- t3. Minneapolis/St. Paul - 4.2/8
- t5. Pittsburgh - 3.5/6
- t5. Oklahoma City - 3.5/5