The ultimate showdown in marquee events took place Sunday when the Game 2 of the NBA Finals took on ABC and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers took place on NBC.
While it was no surprise the NBA finals rolled over the Stanley Cup by the wide margin, in Chicago the Blackhawks easily rolled over the Lakers-Celtics matchup with a 26.0 household rating. However, the basketball game did produce a rather decent 7.3 HH rating locally, a strong number against the Blackhawks.
Nationally, it was a different story. The NBA game drew a 10.9/18 share in household overnight ratings, while the Stanley Cup Final drew only a 4.0/7 (final ratings for both were not available at the time this was posted.)
Chicago led the nation with the 26 rating, followed by Philadelphia (WCAU) with a 19.7 rating and a 28 share. Other markets HH rating/share scores’ were: Buffalo (WGRZ, 10.6/15 – Patrick Kane’s home market); Pittsburgh (WPXI, 5.8/9); Detroit (WDIV, 4.2/6); Minneapolis-St. Paul (KARE, 3.8/7) and Milwaukee (WTMJ, 3.6/6).
In Minneapolis-St. Paul market however, the NBA Finals easily outdrew the hockey game with a 6.5/12. Ironically, the market’s NHL team (Wild) outdrew the NBA team (Timberwolves) in the ratings this recent season by a wide margin (both teams appear on FSN North and Twin Cities independent KSTC. Neither made the playoffs this year in their respective sport.)
Despite going up against basketball, the Stanley Cup game drew the largest audience for an non-overtime Game 5 since 2002, when the Detroit Red Wings beat the Carolina Hurricanes to win the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup Final returned to NBC after Games 3 and 4 were on cable channel Versus. In Chicago, ratings were markedly lower. However, the two contests were the highest-rated programming on the respective nights they aired (For example, Game 4 last Friday night averaged a 14.7 household rating.) Game 6 and Game 7 (if necessary) are both airing on NBC.
The Blackhawks did win the game 7-4 over the Flyers and now are one win away from the Stanley Cup, which would blow the ratings door right off the joint. The last time the Blackhawks won the Cup was in 1961.
For the record, the last time any major league won hardware was the Chicago White Sox’s 2005 World Series Championship. The Chicago Bears played in Super Bowl XLII on February 4, 2007, but lost to the Indianapolis Colts 29-15.