Nine months ago, we were roughly a week and a half into the NHL lockout, the league's third such occurrence since the 1994-95 season. While a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was agreed upon in January, it still did some heavy damage to the reputation of the league. Fast forward to Monday night when the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins to reclaim Lord Stanley's Cup. Early indications appear as though fans forgot about the lockout, due to a 3.3/10 Nielsen Rating of Monday's Game 6 among the 18-49 demographic. But how long will the NHL be able to ride the wave that the exciting Stanley Cup Playoffs finish delivered?
First, let me describe the Nielsen Ratings. Some of you may be unfamiliar with how these numbers are put together, or what they mean all together.
The 3.3/10 rating actually has two different meanings. 3.3% of households with a television set tuned into Game 6 at any given moment. This is what we call our RATING. Meanwhile, 10% of households watching television on Monday night tuned into the game. This is what we call our SHARE. To break that down even further, the 3.3 rating tells us that 3.3% of the 18-49 population, with a television set in their household, watched the game. The 10% share is designed to go a step further, it still takes the total number of people watching the game, but is measured against the total number of households actually using their TV at the time. In other words, if you are one of the few to have your data collected by the Nielsen Company, and you were reading a book or watching Netflix, your data is still collected, but unused when determining the share number.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let's move on.
Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals had 8.16 million viewers, as compared to the 4.93 million that watched the series clinching game 6 last year. However, it should be noted that due to the NBA lockout in 2011, the NHL was forced to battle head-to-head against the NBA during the first 4 games of the Stanley Cup Finals. Still, if you compare the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals 5.48 million viewers to Monday's game 6, there's clearly a significant boost.
Unfortunately, those numbers are still no comparison to the NBA Finals, specifically game 7, which saw 8.7/26 among the 18-49 demographic and 21.56 million viewers. But if you look more into the NHL, those numbers should be a bit more clear. For instance, several NHL Stanley Cup Finals games were shown on the NBC Sports Network, while all of the NBA Finals were on ABC. So unless you upgraded your television package, you weren't able to watch some NHL Finals games.
So just how much of the damage caused by the NHL lockout was wiped away after the Stanley Cup Finals? Well, if other leagues are any indication, there shouldn't be any damage going forward. However, as I stated earlier, this is the NHL's third labor dispute since the 1994-95 season.
Brian Lamb is a writer for 365 Sports Report, covering Sports Business, the NFL Draft, and many other topics. You can visit his website at 365sportsreport.com