The measure of just how far Chicago has come as a hockey market was evident in U.S. overnight television ratings – a 5.6 metered-market rating on NBC for Monday night's sixth game of the Stanley Cup final, the third-best ever for a Game 6 since 1995, and NBC's fourth-highest overnight ever for the NHL, according to the Neilsen Company.
However, the ratings success did not translate north of the border, where Game 6 drew an average audience of 2.62 million viewers. Over all, 8.6 million Canadians tuned in to some part of the broadcast, and the audience peaked at 4.6 million at 10:50 ET, just as the Blackhawks were about to win their third Cup title in six years.
But while it was the most-watched game of the Stanley Cup final, the audience number in Canada was down substantially from the average of 3.28 million viewers who tuned into last year's Stanley Cup final – Game 5 in the New York Rangers-Los Angeles Kings series. Moreover, Monday's Canadian rating was the lowest in a Cup-deciding game since 2003, when the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils drew 2.2 million.
Typically, domestic television viewership falls as Canadian teams fall by the wayside, and for proof, consider this: The opening-round series between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens drew an average rating of 3.2 million viewers and peaked in the deciding game at 3.75 million.
Additionally, the Stanley Cup final was competing against the women's World Cup game between Canada and the Netherlands, broadcast on TSN.
Locally, Chicago produced a monster 41.0 household rating for NBC, its highest rating ever for a Blackhawks game on NBC, which translated into a 57 market share. Tampa Bay drew a 15.2 household rating, followed by Buffalo, Milwaukee (which has a vast Blackhawks viewership) and Denver. Curiously, Las Vegas drew the 10th-best national rating, which may help the expansion efforts there.
According to the network, the Chicago rating is the highest local rating in any market for a non-Game 7 ever broadcast on NBC. That's further proof that the Blackhawks, once the most dormant of the original six franchises, are alive and well.