Most-watched hockey game in U.S. in 30 years
Sunday's USA-Canada gold medal hockey game was the most-watched hockey game in the United States in 30 years. Canada's 3-2 overtime victory averaged 27.6-million viewers, the most since Feb. 24, 1980 when an average of 34.2 million watched the United States Olympic hockey team defeated Finland to capture the gold medal. By comparison, the average audience for the Miracle on Ice game when the United States beat the then-Soviet Union on Feb. 22, 1980 was 34.2 million. That game was shown on a taped-delay basis.
Meantime, the game was the most-watched television program ever in Canada with an average audience of 16.6 million. Nearly half the country on average watched the entire game and an incredible 80 percent of Canadians (26.5 million) watched at least a portion of the game.
Sunday's U.S. audience peaked at 34.8-million viewers from 5:30-6 p.m., when the USA's Zach Parise sent the game to overtime by scoring with 24.4 seconds left in regulation and then, Canada's Sidney Crosby scored seven minutes into overtime.
The average audience of 27.6 million for Sunday's game was more than watched the 2010 Grammy Awards (25.9 million), the 2010 Rose Bowl (24 million), Game 4 of last year's World Series (22.8 million), the 2009 NCAA men's basketball championship (17.6 million) and this year's Daytona 500 (16 million).
Sunday's game drew a 15.2 rating and a 30 share, meaning 15.2 percent of all U.S. households and 30 percent of all televisions on at the time were tuned into the game.
NBC Olympic host Bob Costas said, "That's one of the greatest sporting events I've ever seen.''