Game 7 of the NHL’s Western Conference Final aired on Sunday night between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, and most experts believed it could be one of the most-watched hockey games in the history of the game. The 5-4 overtime win by the Kings ended up drawing more than 4.1 million viewers to NBCSN–which was the most for a non-Stanley Cup Final game since at least 1994.
The previous high was 4 million in 1996, but the population was smaller then. It also helps that Chicago was involved. It’s been shown during earlier games of the series that most of the audience watching the series was coming from the Chicagoland area. In fact, a game earlier in the series had 33% of its viewers in Chicagoland. Los Angeles hasn’t been watching the games as much as Chicago has but obviously Game 7 was a different story.
And now we go into the Stanley Cup Final, and we’re watching to see if the ratings go higher with Los Angeles and New York– two largest TV markets–being involved. The next two weeks will be a fun way to measure the hometown spirit(s).