Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup – and the TV ratings battle

Stanley Cup champsThe Chicago Blackhawks are back on top in the hockey world – and in the ratings.

This was quite a year for the Blackhawks, who saw some ups (the 23-game unbeaten streak) and some downs (the late start due to the lockout and Susannah Collins’ controversial firing.) But it was Dave Bolland’s game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins – one of two late in the third period – making it a hat, T-Shirt, and commemorative DVD night for the Blackhawks, giving them their second championship in four years.

And this championship is a bit of a vindication for Chicago itself, after being dragged through the mud by the national and international press for the last two years for a high murder rate and a dysfunctional public school system, and by those just looking for attention (take that, Rachel Shteir!)

Chicago viewers fled into the entrances Monday night, scoring extraordinary ratings. The numbers would’ve been higher if it weren’t for the severe storms sweeping through the Chicago area earlier in the evening, knocking out power to about 70, 000 homes. I guess Mother Nature isn’t a Blackhawks fan.

And while game six did well nationally, it did face unexpected competition from a new scripted series.

Here’s the ratings rundown, with info complied from Chicagoland Radio & Media, NBC Press Box, TV By The Numbers, and Sports Media Watch:

In Chicago, game six averaged a 30.2 overnight rating and nearly 1.1 million households, peaking at a 38.9/57 from 9:45 p.m.-10 p.m., when the two winning goals were scored. Likely due to the severe weather and power outages, the rating is down 8 percent from the Hawks’ clincher three years ago, also a game six. Among adults 18-49 locally, the game averaged a 22.8/56, and a 25.6/55 among adults 25-54.

WMAQ’s local coverage also was a winner: the post-game extravaganza drew a 28.4/45 from 10-10:30p.m.and remained on top for the rest of the evening. While WMAQ’s pre-game show (5.3/11) finished second behind Wheel Of Fortune (9.5/19) in households, Quest For The Cup still did better than regular time-period occupant Access: Hollywood.

Nationally, game six drew 8.16 million viewers, peaking at 10.42 million from 9:45 p.m.-10:00 p.m., and a 3.1 rating among adults 18-49, and a 3.5 rating among adults 25-54. Among total viewers, the numbers were up 66 percent from last year’s Los Angeles Kings-New Jersey Devils game and is the third most-watched Cup Final in history.

However, the game did face some surprisingly tough competition from CBS’ new summer drama Under The Dome, from Stephen King through a partnership with Amazon. The premiere episode drew 13.53 million viewers and a 3.3/9 in adults 18-49 from 9-10 p.m, barely topping the hockey game in the demo. Under the Dome clearly clobbered ABC’s campy soap Mistresses, which only drew 3.3 million viewers and a 1.1 rating.

The 2013 Stanley cup Final overall averaged 5.8 million viewers for NBC, up 91 percent from last year’s Kings-Devils series and marks the most-watched Stanley Cup Final since 1994, when the New York Rangers won their first championship in 54 years. The entire Stanley Cup playoffs (airing over NBC, NBC SN, and CNBC), were up 18 percent from last year and is the most watched playoffs since 1997.

– Though Chicago has the Cup, it was Boston who drew the highest ratings for game six: NBC affiliate WHDH drew a 33 household rating Monday night, topping Chicago’s 30.2, with nearby Providence third with a 22.5 for WJAR, followed by Buffalo’s WGRZ (12.5) and Pittsburgh WPXI (7.8). Rounding out the top ten: Minneapolis-St. Paul (KARE, 7.3); Milwaukee (WTMJ, 7.0); Hartford (WVIT, 6.8); Ft. Myers, Fla. (WBBH, 6.3) and St. Louis (KSDK, 5.8).

In Detroit, game six was pre-empted for a local fireworks show, but was available on independent WADL-TV and CBET (CBC) in nearby Windsor, Ont.

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