Count NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 leader Larry Wert among those who would love to see the Stanley Cup finals go on forever. The first two games of the finals pitting the Chicago Blackhawks against the Philadelphia Flyers pulled nothing short of phenomenal ratings in the Chicago market on WMAQ. Especially considering this was hockey. Not football or basketball.
The first game Saturday night drew a 16. 8 overnight Nielsen rating locally. In other words, TV sets in 588,000 households in Chicago were tuned to the first Stanley Cup finals game. But Monday night's second finals game easily trumped the impressive Saturday night results with a 25.1 overnight rating. That means the hockey game was on in 878,000 Chicago area households. Huge. After hockey, the next highest-rated show in the Chicago market Monday night was ABC's "Bacherlorette," which could do no better than 4.8 rating.
"I think this is more remarkable than an Olympic number or a Chicago Bears number, because it is history in the making," said Wert. "A hockey game(s) never saw this kind of embrace by its home city; the fan base just grew exponentially," added Wert.