Crosby drives audience for CBC, RDS

The Nova Scotia native and Pittsburgh captain didn't get to hoist the Stanley Cup in his first NHL final, but he did help push hockey viewership.

Canadian hockey star Sidney Crosby may have helped boost viewership for the Stanley Cup series between his Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings, as ratings were up on CBC for the first all-American match-up since 2003.

The series, which saw the Red Wings lift Lord Stanley’s mug after six games, averaged nearly 2.3 million viewers – down 8% from last year’s battle, which featured the Ottawa Senators. However, the numbers mark a big jump from the last all-American final (Anaheim/New Jersey) in 2003, which drew 1.5 million viewers (all numbers 2+).

The series, featuring fan favorite Crosby – the youngest player ever to captain an NHL team – versus ‘Hockeytown’ Detroit, was a dream match-up for the NHL and broadcasters, who figured he would be a ratings draw. The broadcast of the sixth and final game on June 4, which saw Detroit edge Pittsburgh 3-2, nabbed the highest audience of the series with 2.7 million viewers. It’s the Red Wings’ 11th Stanley Cup title in franchise history.

French caster RDS’ broadcast of the six-game series averaged 730,000 viewers, marking an increase of 20% from last year. The final game scored 858,000 viewers, peaking at 1.2 million and giving RDS a 32% market share on June 4.

Meanwhile, sister station TSN says more audiences are tuning in for the NBA finals, which got underway June 5. The first two games of the series between the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics grabbed 237,000 and 280,000 viewers respectively – more than double the average of the first two games last year, at 115,000. The broadcaster has exclusive coverage of the NBA finals, which the Celtics lead 2-0.

From Playback Daily