NHL Stanley Cup ratings a hit for NBC - thanks to NY and LA teams

NHL Stanley Cup
A scene from the Rangers and Kings during game two of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Staples Center. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

How in the puck is it possible for hockey to be a TV hit in June?

Well, when you have a faceoff between the NHL teams in the Nos. 1 and 2 media markets in the U.S., the Stanley Cup finals can finally score some impressive numbers for NBC.

Saturday’s Game 2 between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers averaged 6.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.

That may not sound like much compared with NFL ratings, but that was the most-watched Game 2 in a Stanley Cup final since at least 1994.


Hockey ratings suffer in comparison to basketball and especially football. Last year’s Game 2 between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks on NBCSN drew just 4 million. In 2012, the Kings and New Jersey Devils gathered a crowd of fewer than 3 million.

But this year, the ice is finally cracking NBC’s way. Game 2 scored giant-sized 21 audience shares in both New York and Los Angeles - which just happen to be the biggest TV markets in the nation.

Saturday was a great sports day for NBC overall. Coverage of the Belmont Stakes - where California Chrome failed in a quest for the Triple Crown - drew 20.6 million.

Game 3 of the Stanley Cup will be played Monday night. The Kings lead the series 2-0.


Follow Scott Collins on Twitter @scottcollinsLAT.