The Washington Capitals' 4-3 win over the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night to win the Stanley Cup in five games had a higher live rating in Western New York than all but two prime-time network entertainment programs during the May sweeps.
The exciting game had an 11.4 rating on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2), the local NBC affiliate. The rating peaked at 14.0 at 9:45 p.m. and the game finished with a 13.1 rating at 11 p.m., when some viewers expected to see Channel 2's local newscast begin.
To put the 11.4 rating in perspective, only "The Big Bang Theory" (13.0) — a half-hour program — had a higher live rating locally during the May sweeps. "NCIS" tied the game with an 11.4 rating, but it is only an hour program. The game lasted three hours.
Of course, the hockey games also receive strong male demographics, which are tougher for entertainment programs to get.
When you add viewing seven days later, "Big Bang" (15.7), "NCIS" (13.6) and "Young Sheldon" (12.2) were the only network prime-time programs to have a higher rating here. Thursday's game is expected to get an extremely small boost from delayed viewing, which is typical of live sporting events.
Games that potentially end with titles being decided generally receive higher ratings.
To put Thursday's rating in further perspective, Golden State's 110-102 victory over Cleveland Wednesday night in game three of the National Basketball Association Finals had a 7.5 local rating on WKBW-TV (Channel 7), the local ABC affiliate.
Tonight's game four has the potential to have a higher rating because it could end with the Warriors winning the title. However, Friday night is generally one of the lowest viewing nights of the week so that could result in a lower rating.