For about as long as I can remember, the mantra has been “Americans just don’t like hockey”. What’s more, barely a Canadian TV sports panel goes by without mentioning the mistaken placement of NHL teams in “non-hockey markets”.
Apparently, that’s an argument of the past.
For it seems -- We’ve arrived.
Wednesday night’s Game One of the Stanley Cup Final drew a 4.8 overnight rating (6.42 Million viewers) for NBC, up 100% from last year’s LA/New Jersey series opener.
What’s more, well over half of those watching the game fell into the extremely desirable 18-49 demographic.
Chicago might’ve won triple overtime. But hockey won the night for NBC, delivering 28% of the total viewership in Boston and 25% in Chicago, two of the country’s major markets.
As the past half dozen Olympics have proven, our game has gone worldwide. And now, the toughest TV audience in the world, the one with the most viewing alternatives, has begun to embrace us.
Although you might feel this will hurt the chances of Quebec City, Saskatoon or Southern Ontario getting another team, it is still a very good thing.
Even the most die-hard Boston supporter has to admit that Wednesday night’s game was a classic. And classic games build loyal audiences.
How rabid are some Americans for the Canadian game? Well, diehard Bruins fans,The Dropkick Murphys, refused to start their concert Wednesday night until the game was over. When it went into overtime, they stayed offstage and had the venue play it on the band’s projection screens.
Meanwhile in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton all used their speeches at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting to voice their support for the Blackhawks.
Bill especially likes the Chicago ice girls…
In other news – a quick reminder that you have until Saturday night to enter the Infamous Writers Hockey Pool Props Contest. Less actual hockey knowledge required. Same great prizes. Just ask David Kinahan, who’s won it more than once.
As for the big dog…
Will Zmak holds his lead with the aforementioned Mr. Kinahan and Eric Anderson still within striking distance and a couple of other dark horses rising through the ranks.
More on Monday.