NHL’s Game 7 draws 8.5 million

Bruins win is most-watched hockey game in 38 years

Wednesday night’s Game 7 of the hockey finals, which gave the Boston Bruins the Stanley Cup, was the most watched NHL game in 38 years.

With 8.5 million viewers tuning in to see the last game of the season, the contest was up slightly vs. last year’s Game 6 — in which Chicago won in overtime to take the Cup, according to Nielsen.

The most-watched Stanley Cup game of all time is Game 7 of the 1971 series, when Montreal defeated Chicago. Aired on CBS, the game drew 12.4 million viewers.

The Bruins-Vancouver Canucks series averaged 5.3 million viewers for the five games on NBC, with the other two games on its sports cabler partner Versus. In Boston, Game 7 earned a whopping 43 rating/64 share in the overnights.

NBC recently ponied up $2 billion for a pact with the NHL, in which it will share games with Versus. Peacock has been spending plenty of coin lately for its sports programming, including $4.4 billion for the Olympics through 2020.

The winning Olympics bid was somewhat of a surprise considering NBC Sports guru Dick Ebersol was not part of the contingent that went to Switzerland and because Comcast topper Brian Roberts had indicated the newly merged company may not want to spend lavishly right away.