Ratings for the 2020 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars have seen relatively low viewership in Canada thus far.
According to Sports Media Watch, Saturday’s Game 1 of the Stars-Lightning (on NBC) series drew just 2.12 million viewers. That was the lowest viewership total for the opening game of a Stanley Cup Final series since 2007, when Game 1 between the Ottawa Senators an Anaheim Ducks reached just 769,000 viewers.
Game 1 also had a rating of just 1.1. Sports Media Watch reports that it matched Game 3 of the Senators-Ducks series as “the lowest Cup Final rating ever on broadcast television.”
Confirming a report from Sportsnet, the network that’s broadcasting the games in Canada, Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Athletic (subscription required) stated that they only averaged 1.081 million viewers in Game 1.
The ratings decreased significantly in Game 2. Including streams, the viewership came in at 1.20 million, per Sports Media Watch. It should be noted that the NHL had competition with the New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders Monday Night Football game on ESPN, which averaged a whopping 15.590 million viewers.
Per Fitz-Gerald, Game 2 of the series fell to 841,000 viewers for Sportsnet.
Sportsnet is part of Rogers Sports & Media. Back in 2013, Rogers and the NHL agreed to a 12-year television contract worth $5.232 billion (Canadian dollars). Generally speaking, however, the ratings haven’t been what Rogers probably envisioned when they signed that contract.
No Canadian team has played in the Stanley Cup Final since 2011, when the Vancouver Canucks fell in a seven-game series to the Boston Bruins. Obviously, having no Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup Final can be cited as a key reason for Sportsnet’s low ratings.
Zero Canadian NHL teams advanced past the first round in 2019. In 2020, the Canucks were the only team to reach round two, but they were dispatched by the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games.
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