Bruins-Canucks 2011 Stanley Cup finals opener produces best Game 1 ratings since 1999

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Going into Wednesday night’s Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, there was an intangible sense that the NHL was on fire. Almost every indicator pointed toward hockey going “up,” with maybe the best sign being that the Sports Business Journal named the NHL its professional sports league of the year.

That notion of positive momentum can be justified by the ratings for the first match between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks’ 1-0 win produced the best overnight ratings for a Game 1 since 1999, generating a 3.2 rating and 6 percent share. That 3.2 rating is a 14 percent increase from the 2.8 rating produced by Game 1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. Improving upon last year’s ratings is an especially impressive feat considering the fact that last year’s match featured two large American markets going head-to-head when the Philadelphia Flyers took on the Chicago Blackhawks. Having a Canadian team as one of the conference representatives didn’t derail a telecast that produced the best ratings since the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars produced a 3.7 rating for Fox in ’99.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the game was especially huge in Boston, with the 25.5 rating and 39 percent share topping Boston’s ratings for Game 1 of the 2010 NBA finals match between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers (which drew a 19.1 rating and 34 percent share).

Want more ratings information about Game 1? Check out these interesting details from NBC’s press release on the matter.

  • This is the first Stanley Cup Final featuring a Canadian team since the Ottawa Senators faced the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. The 3.2 overnight for last night’s game is 113 percent higher than the first network broadcast of that series (1.5/3 for Game 3).

Top Metered Markets For Game 1

1. Boston, 25.5/39
2. Providence, 16.7/24
3. Buffalo, 7.2/11
4. Hartford, 5.5/8
5. Pittsburgh, 4.3/7

It’s great to see the momentum continue in such a resounding way. Hopefully sports fans will remain just as interested in the next 3-6 games of this series.