- 2022 Stanley Cup finals was first in NHL’s new TV deal
- Viewership down 16% on pre-pandemic 2019 series
The 2022 Stanley Cup finals averaged 4.59 million viewers on US commercial network ABC, a rise of 82 per cent on last year’s edition of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) title-deciding series.
This year’s Stanley Cup was the first to be held in a more typical timeslot since Covid-19. The 2021 edition, which averaged 2.52 million viewers on NBC, didn’t conclude until July. The 2020 series, which averaged 2.14 million viewers, was pushed to September.
Despite the viewership increase, the audience was still below the pre-pandemic 2019 final, which averaged 5.47 million viewers. Not factoring in the Covid-affected seasons, this year’s series was also the second least-watched Stanley Cup finals since 2012, which averaged 3.01 million viewers.
The 2022 Stanley Cup finals series was the first in the NHL’s new seven-year US broadcast deal with ESPN. The agreement, which is reportedly worth more than US$400 million per season, also covers other Disney-owned linear and digital platforms, including ABC airing the NHL title-decider in four of the seven years of the contract.
The champion-crowning game six, which saw the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the best-of-seven series, averaged 5.82 million viewers, up 61 per cent on last year’s decisive game five.
All six games of the 2022 Stanley Cup finals ranked as the six most-watched NHL games since the league returned from its Covid-enforced shutdown nearly two years ago.
The complete Stanley Cup playoffs averaged 1.36 million viewers, up from one million last year, but down from the 1.47 million in 2019.