Knights-Capitals TV Ratings for the Historic Game 1 of Stanley Cup Finals

Photo: NHL via Getty Images

In October, the odds of the Las Vegas Golden Knights winning the Stanley Cup were 500 to 1. The Washington Capitals haven’t made it to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1998. This combination of teams is one of the most unlikely scenarios in the sport. So with this historic and unprecedented series officially underway, how did the TV ratings make out for Game 1? 

Surprise, surprise, a historical match-up pitting two teams looking for their first Stanley Cup has warranted a lot of interest from both hardcore and casual fans of the sport, regardless of team affiliation.

The DC area had a viewership rating of 16.02 for the first game in the series, beating out Game 7 of the Tampa Bay Lighting series for the Eastern Conference Championship. It was the single most watched Washington Capitals hockey game ever, on the NBC networks.

That said, DC’s ratings didn’t hold a candle to Sin City’s. Las Vegas got a viewership rating of a whopping 28.08.

Outside of the Silver State and the Nation’s Capitol, the blockbuster game garnered heavy attention from such cities as Ft. Myers, Florida (home of a heavy Tampa Bay Lighting following), Denver, Colorado (home of the Avalanche), St. Louis, Missouri (home of the Blues), Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland (both of which house larger Capitals fanbases), Buffalo, New York (home of the Sabres), and just behind Las Vegas and Washington DC in the ratings, with a viewership score of 10.31 is none other than Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of pesky Penguins.

Whether the fans in the area are diehard hockey fans who’ll watch the Playoffs to the end regardless of team, or whether they’re sore about the Caps eliminating them in the second round, or even if they’re closet DC fans quietly cheering the Caps on, who can say? But we certainly have the attention of an awful lot of people.

In fact, Game 1 of the series had a higher rating than the last two years’ Stanley Cup Playoff series’ did, beating out both the Penguins’ contests against the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks, respectively.


-The overnight ratings also did exceptionally well, with a rating of 3.72. The Stanley Cup Final to pass this rating was 2015’s series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks.

-Game 1 of the Capitals / Red Wings Stanley Cup Final in 1998 got a 13.7 rating; it aired on FOX.

-The aforementioned game was also the final game to use the “glowing puck”, a tool that made it easier for viewers watching at home to follow the puck as it was moving around the ice.

-Washington DC, Baltimore, and Richmond have a total of 4.166M households with televisions, they are the 6th, 26th, and 55th largest markets in television respectively, which Las Vegas is the 40th with 757K on its own.

– In the last ten years, two teams have lost game one of the Stanley Cup Finals and gone on to win the Cup, the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2011 Boston Bruins.

By: Chris Laroche

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2 Responses to Knights-Capitals TV Ratings for the Historic Game 1 of Stanley Cup Finals

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