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Olympic Hockey A Tremendous Success Across United States

Yesterday was a banner day for hockey in the United States, as the U.S. team took the Canadians to the brink in an electrifying gold medal game that wasn’t decided until overtime. For many, it was one of the greatest hockey games they’ve ever seen which is interesting since many were saying that about the first USA-Canada game.

But it wasn’t just the hardcore hockey fans that enjoyed the game in the United States. On the last day of the Olympics, the gold medal game became became the most-watched hockey since 1980.

Per Steve Lepore of Puck The Media:

According to Sports Business Daily (reg. required), the Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Game drew an astronomical 17.6/33 overnight rating. This is up 46% from the 2002 USA/Canada showdown, and will very likely be the highest-rated hockey game since 1980. The share means that 1 in every 3 Americans with a TV were watching the game. This is, to put it professionally, out of this world.

Sports Media Watch:

Sunday’s game is on pace to finish as the highest rated hockey telecast in the United States since 1980.

To put the numbers in perspective, Sunday’s game drew a higher overnight rating than every World Series game since 2004 (including every game of Yankees/Phillies last year), every NBA Finals telecast since 1998, and every NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four game since at least ’98.

Excluding the NFL, the 17.6 overnight for the game is the second-highest of the year for any sporting event, behind only the Texas/Alabama BCS National Championship Game in January (18.2).

It was a triumphant day for USA hockey and hockey fans all over the United States, as 25 million people tuned in to watch the game. Despite a heartbreaking loss in overtime, the hope is that the NHL retains the fans they gained for the day, building the sport even more in the U.S.

This is a sport that has been working valiantly to recover from the lockout five years ago, and yesterday’s incredible game is being talked about in every corner of the United States. That can only be a good thing for the NHL moving forward.