Last night’s series-clinching Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 6.714 million viewers on NBC, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, making it the most-watched Stanley Cup Final Game 5 in 16 years and up 51% vs. last year, according to Fast National Data by the Nielsen Company and Adobe Analytics. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals won the first Stanley Cup in team history last night with a 4-3 victory over the expansion Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
The five-game Stanley Cup Final averaged a TAD of 4.918 million viewers, making it the most-watched Final in three years and the most-watched Final without an Original Six team on record.
Despite a playoffs that did not include teams in traditional hockey markets, such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, or New York Rangers, sports fans were drawn to the numerous compelling stories of this year’s playoffs – including the historic run by the expansion Golden Knights, and the unrelenting quest of Ovechkin and the Capitals to win their first Stanley Cup. Overall, the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs tied for the second-most watched Stanley Cup Playoffs in 21 years.
Following are viewership and streaming highlights for last night’s Game 5, the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, and the entire 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
Game 5 averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 6.714 million viewers, making it the most-watched Stanley Cup Final Game 5 since Carolina-Detroit in 2002 (ABC, 6.848 million). The game was up 51% vs. last year’s Nashville-Pittsburgh Game 5 (4.444 million) and up 32% vs. San Jose-Pittsburgh in 2016 (5.070 million).
TV-only viewership peaked at 9.087 million viewers from 11-11:15 p.m. ET. NBC is expected to win the night in the advertiser-coveted P18-49 demographic. The game produced a TV-only 3.88 household rating on NBC.
Streaming of last night’s Game 5 set an NBC Sports Digital record for an NHL game with 381,000 uniques, up 119% vs 2017’s Game 5. The Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 124,000 viewers is best ever for an NHL game on NBC, the third-best overall (NBCSN games are Top 2), and up 100% vs. last year’s Game 5. Last night’s game delivered 24.5 million live minutes, up 121% vs. 2017.
Locally, with a 25.2 local rating (45 share) in Washington, D.C., this was the highest rated Capitals game ever on the networks of NBC in the market, topping Game 4 (22.9). Las Vegas’ 27.6 local rating (46 share) stands as the second-highest for a Golden Knights game ever in the market, behind only Game 1 (28.1).
Following are the Top 10 markets for Stanley Cup Final Game 5:
Rank Metered Market Rating
1 Las Vegas 27.6
2 Washington, D.C. 25.2
3 Baltimore 12.5
4 Richmond 11.4
5 Buffalo 11.2
6 Pittsburgh 10.7
7 Minneapolis 7.9
8 Ft. Myers 6.6
9 Denver 6.4
10 St. Louis 5.9
In addition to Washington, D.C., Game 5 set local ratings records in all of the following markets:
Kansas City (4.8)
Salt Lake City (4.5)
Los Angeles* (3.8)
* Best local rating for an NHL game not including Penguins, Kings or Ducks, respectively.
STANLEY CUP FINAL
The five-game Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights averaged a TAD of 4.918 million viewers, making it the most-watched Final since 2015’s Chicago-Tampa Bay six-game Final (5.600 million); up 3% vs. last year’s six-game Final featuring Nashville and Pittsburgh (4.762 million); and the best on record (since 1994) for a Stanley Cup Final without an Original Six team (Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs). The Final averaged a TV-only household rating of 2.73.
NBC, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app averaged a TAD of 5.745 million for Games 1, 4, and 5, while NBCSN and the digital platforms averaged a TAD of 3.685 million for Games 2 and 3. Both averages are the best in three years.
NBC/NBCSN won the night in primetime among the P18-49 and P25-54 demos for Games 2-5, and was No. 2 for Game 1. The networks combined to win the night among average viewers for Games 3-5.
Digitally, the five games of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final set streaming records for uniques (1.2 million, up 55% vs. last year’s Final), live minutes (111 million, up 14%), and AMA (117,300, up 41%). Game 2, won 3-2 by the Capitals on NBCSN, is the most-streamed NHL game in NBC Sports Digital history with 27 million minutes and an AMA of 140,000 viewers.
Locally, Las Vegas led all markets by averaging a 23.0 rating for all five games. Washington, D.C., was second with an 18.5 local rating. Las Vegas set a local record with a 28.08 rating for Game 1.
Rank Metered Market Rating
1 Las Vegas 23.0
2 Washington, D.C. 18.5
3 Baltimore 9.9
4 Buffalo 8.7
5 Pittsburgh 8.1
6 Richmond 7.8
7 Minneapolis 6.0
8 Denver 4.6
9 St. Louis 4.4
10 Ft. Myers 4.3
2018 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs averaged a TAD of 1.45 million viewers for 83 games across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, Golf Channel, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, tying it with 2014 and 2015 for the second-most watched Stanley Cup Playoffs since 1997, behind only 2013 (1.47 million), which featured a six-game Final between Original Six teams Boston and Chicago. Overall, the 2018 playoffs were up 4% vs. 2017 (1.39 million). The Playoffs averaged a TV-only 0.83 household rating.
NBC Sports’ cable coverage of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs produced a TAD of 1.054 million viewers (66 games) across NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, Golf Channel, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, making it the second-best cable delivery in 21 years, behind only 2014 (1.098 million).
Coverage of the playoffs on NBC averaged a TAD of 2.889 million viewers, the best in three years (2015, 3.230 million) and up 3% vs. last year.
The 83 games of 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs set streaming records across NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app for all key metrics. The playoffs delivered records of 3.8 million uniques (+84%), 616 million minutes (+17%), and an AMA of 42,700 viewers (+39%).
Las Vegas and Pittsburgh (the Penguins exited in the second round) tied for the highest local market rating (4.5) for the entire playoffs. Buffalo was the top-ranked market for a city without a team in the playoffs, ranking No. 3 over all with a 3.3 rating.
Rank Metered Market Rating
t1 Las Vegas 4.5
t1 Pittsburgh 4.5
3 Buffalo 3.3
4 Washington, D.C. 3.2
5 Nashville 2.6
6 Tampa 2.5
t7 Baltimore 1.9
t7 Boston 1.9
9 Providence 1.8
10 Ft. Myers 1.7