Blackhawks-Lightning Game 1 on NBC is most-watched Stanley Cup Final non-OT Game 1 in 18 years
The first game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which the Blackhawks defeated the Lightning by a score of 2-1, produced a 3.34 household rating and averaged 5.547 million viewers, making it the most-watched Game 1 that did not require overtime in 18 years and NBC's second-most watched Stanley Cup Final Game 1 ever.
Viewership of Wednesday night's Game 1 (8:10-11 p.m. ET), in which the Blackhawks came from behind with two third-period goals, was up 16 percent compared to last year's Rangers-Kings Game 1 (4.785 million), which the Kings won by a score of 3-2 in overtime. The only Game 1 on NBC to surpass last night's viewership was the triple-overtime thriller between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks in 2013, which averaged 6.315 million viewers.
The game peaked at 6.433 million viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m.
NBC won the night with a 1.8 rating in the A18-49 demo, up 38 percent over its nearest competitor (FOX, 1.3). NBC ranked No. 1 from 8-11 p.m. among all broadcast and cable networks in ages 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.
Chicago delivered a 28.0 metered market rating, its third-highest ever for a Blackhawks game on NBC, trailing only the Stanley Cup Final-clinching Game 6 matchups in 2013 and 2010. Wednesday night's Game 1 rating was up 12 percent vs. Game 1 in 2013 (25.1), and up 66 percent vs. Game 1 in 2010 (16.9).
Tampa drew a 17.9 rating, the highest rating ever in the market for a Lightning game on any NBC network, up 50 percent vs. last Friday's Eastern Conference Final Game 7 against the New York Rangers on NBCSN (11.9), and up 47 percent vs. Game 1 of the Lightning's last SCF appearance in 2004 against Calgary (ESPN; 12.2).
NBC was the No. 1 network in both markets during the game.
Buffalo was the third-highest-rated market with a 7.2 household rating. It was second last year following the Game 1 matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers (8.5 HH rating).
Following are the Top 10 markets from last night's Stanley Cup Final Game 1 on NBC: