Following a thrilling, seven-game series, the St. Louis Blues hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. Blues fans obviously tuned in en masse during the series, as did fans of the Boston Bruins, who lost 4-1 at home in game seven.
Inscape, the TV measurement company with glass-level data from a panel of more than 11 million smart TVs and devices, looked at audience trends across the entire series, and mapped out the top DMAs, by rating, in the continental U.S.
While St. Louis was on top by a longshot, the Boston-Manchester, N.H. DMA was second, followed by Providence, R.I.-New Bedford, Mass. and Springfield-Holyoke, Mass. (both areas being Bruins strongholds). Despite the hometown Penguins being swept out of the first round, Pittsburgh was fifth, then Watertown, N.Y.; Duluth-Superior, Minn.; and Fargo, N.D. The Burlington, Vt.-Plattsburgh, N.Y. DMA was ninth. Surprisingly, Las Vegas rounded out the top 10.
Vegas has only had its own NHL team (the Golden Knights) for two seasons, but the city has already seemed to embrace hockey and become a stronghold for NHL television viewers -- at least based on the ratings during these playoffs.
Though the fans were tuned in for the action on the ice, there was plenty of action off of it, too, as advertisers jumped into the series. According to TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, the Stanley Cup Finals generated over 2.9 billion impressions on an estimated brand spend of $91.2 million across the seven games airing on NBC and NBC Sports. The exciting games also generated a ton of attention for advertisers. Stanley Cup ads had an average iSpot Attention Score (the percentage of an ad that is played across the TV device) of 95.82
iSpot’s estimated spend data shows the highest percentage of dollars spent by automakers (24.2%), followed by credit cards (8.5%) and insurance companies (6.9%). Volkswagen, Honda and Lexus were all among the top five in estimated ad spend, as were Discover Card and GEICO. Honda, Discover and GEICO are all official corporate sponsors of the NHL.
The individual spots fans saw the most times looked a bit different, however. While Discover’s “Scuba Diving” was aired more times (14) than any other ad, Google TV’s “Here to Help: Take the First Step,” Pepsi Zero Sugar’s “Sound and Bubbles,” Bridgestone’s “Clutch Performance Test” and Jagermeister’s “The Perfect Shot” were the next most-aired of the 207 unique spots to appear.
Back on the ice, the excitement around the Blues’ win wasn’t just limited to the television either. According to video measurement company Tubular Labs, social video around the series generated over 331 million views from the start (May 27) through June 14 -- two days after the final game.
Actor John Krasinski’s Bruins-centric Twitter post was the most viewed across social video platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, with 7.6 million views, followed by this in-game dust-up posted by Wave (7.2 million views). But the rest of the top five videos all revolved around Blues superfan Laila Anderson, an 11-year old with a rare immunodeficiency disease. The Blues made sure she felt like she was part of the team during their run to the championship, and she even got to kiss the Stanley Cup after St. Louis got the win.
The NHL, Blues, Bruins and broadcaster NBC were able to own a lot of the social video conversation, with their owned accounts making for eight of the top 10 creators around the Cup. While Facebook (114 million) and Twitter (103 million) received the most views for Stanley Cup video content in the timeframe, the NHL’s Instagram feed actually earned the most views of any individual profile, with 44.3 million.