The ratings for the Stanley Cup Final were down considerably in 2020, and it didn’t end on the highest note.
According to a report from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Game 6 of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Cup-clinching 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars drew 2.877 million viewers.
Ourand added that there was an average of 916,000 viewers during the 2020 NHL playoffs “across NBC, NBCSN, USA Network and CNBC.”
The NHL obviously had competition with the highly-anticipated Week 3 Monday Night Football contest on ESPN, which featured Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs and Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens.
That game reportedly drew an audience of 14.02 million. So it’s safe to say that the Chiefs and Ravens game – featuring the league’s two most recent MVP winners in Mahomes and Jackson — strongly affected the NHL’s ratings on Monday night.
Ratings for Game 1 drew only 2.12 million viewers, which was the lowest for an opening Stanley Cup Final contest since 2007. Game 1 of the Ottawa Senators-Anaheim Ducks series that year drew only 769,000 viewers.
Sportsnet broadcasted the Stanley Cup Final in Canada, and they averaged only 1.081 million viewers for Game 1.
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Of course, the NHL had plenty of other intense competition during the playoffs. The NBA also restarted its 2019-20 season this summer, and both the Western Conference Finals and Eastern Conference Finals series took place during the Stanley Cup series.
But at the end of the day, the NHL will take pride in managing to resume and finish the 2019-20 campaign. During the season suspension, commissioner Gary Bettman emphasized the goal of rewarding the Stanley Cup, and they ultimately got the job done.
It’s unclear when the 2020-21 campaign will start. The league was initially looking at a training camp date of Nov. 17, with the 2020-21 season beginning in early December. However, a December start looks unlikely at this point, and January appears to be a more realistic timetable.
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