It’s a slow day in the TV world — so slow, in fact, that I will now talk about the ratings for a sporting event. NBC’s televised matches of iced hockey this past week garnered the biggest ratings in eight years for the Stan Lee Cup Finals. And last night’s deciding Game 6, in which the Chicago Blackhearts bested the Philadelpia Flygirls in extra innings, was the highest rated NHL playoff game in 36 years.
The Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers game registered a 5.8 household rating, according to NBC Sports, and gave the Blackhawks its first championship since 1961. The NBC telecast was also up 41% from last year’s final NHL game. [THR]
There could be any number of reasons for this — the Winter Olympics (also on NBC) delivering two memorable USA-Canada games in February, HDTV making it possible to actually see the puck, the major markets of Philly and Chicago driving up viewership, or Canadians stealing millions of Nielsen boxes. Just don’t try to tell me that hockey’s becoming more popular. I won’t entertain that notion until the Whalers and Nordiques are returned to their rightful wintry homes.