The NHL’s 2014 Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers averaged about 5 million viewers on NBC and NBC Sports Network, according to Nielsen, making it professional hockey’s second-most-watched championship round since 2006.
This year’s best-of-seven matchup of teams from the country’s two largest markets, won in five games by Los Angeles, couldn’t match the numbers for the 2013 dream matchup of the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, itself a top-10 market battle but one featuring teams with broader national appeal. Last year’s series, won by Chicago in six games, averaged 5.75 million viewers — the largest audience for a Cup Final in at least 20 years.
Friday’s double-overtime clincher for the Kings averaged 6 million viewers on NBC to become the most-watched Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in six years. NBC won the ratings race on all three of the nights it aired a game of the Finals.
For the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs this year, NBC and its cable networks NBCSN and CNBC averaged 1.445 million viewers, making it the second-most watched since 2006 and the fourth biggest in 20 years. The games on NBCSN and CNBC averaged 1.098 million, the most-watched NHL playoffs on cable in 17 years (since ESPN/ESPN2 averaged 1.211 million in 1997).
Live, unauthenticated streaming of the Stanley Cup Final on NBC Sports Live Extra delivered a record 603,000 unique viewers and 37.14 million minutes, up 38% and 22%, respectively, vs. last year. Friday’s Game 5 drew about 275,000 uniques and 11.4 million minutes.