Yesterday was a banner day for hockey in the United States, as the
U.S. team took the Canadians to the brink in an electrifying gold medal
game that wasn’t decided until overtime. For many, it was one of the
greatest hockey games they’ve ever seen which is interesting since many
were saying that about the first USA-Canada game.
But it wasn’t
just the hardcore hockey fans that enjoyed the game in the United
States. On the last day of the Olympics, the gold medal game became
became the most-watched hockey since 1980.
According to Sports
Business Daily (reg.
required), the Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Game drew an astronomical
17.6/33 overnight rating. This is up 46% from the 2002 USA/Canada
showdown, and will very likely be the highest-rated hockey game since
1980. The share means that 1 in every 3 Americans with a TV were
watching the game. This is, to put it professionally, out of this
Sunday’s game is on pace to finish as the highest rated hockey
telecast in the United States since 1980.
To put the numbers in perspective, Sunday’s game drew a higher
overnight rating than every World Series game since 2004 (including
every game of Yankees/Phillies last year), every NBA Finals telecast
since 1998, and every NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four game since at
Excluding the NFL, the 17.6 overnight for the game is the
second-highest of the year for any sporting event, behind only the
Texas/Alabama BCS National Championship Game in January (18.2).
It was a triumphant day for USA hockey and hockey fans all over the
United States, as 25 million people tuned in to watch the game. Despite a
heartbreaking loss in overtime, the hope is that the NHL retains the
fans they gained for the day, building the sport even more in the U.S.
is a sport that has been working valiantly to recover from the lockout
five years ago, and yesterday’s incredible game is being talked about in
every corner of the United States. That can only be a good thing for
the NHL moving forward.