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Game 7 of final a hit, especially here

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published June 9, 2004

For ABC, the good news: the Lightning's Game 7 win over Calgary on Monday night had the second-highest rating for a hockey game since it began carrying the NHL in 2000.

The bad news: that wasn't enough to prevent the series from producing the lowest ratings since the network began broadcasting the final.

Nationally, the final was doomed from the start. But in Tampa Bay and Canada, the games proved wildly popular with viewers.

In the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota market, the series was a ratings champion, especially Game 7, which posted an all-time best 28.1 local rating, or approximately 470,000 households, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That easily made Tampa Bay, which only draws near those numbers for Buc games, the top market in the country. Orlando was second with an 11.1 rating, followed by Detroit (10.6), Philadelphia (9.8), Buffalo (8.9) and Fort Myers (8.0).

In Canada the final was a monster hit as well. Though Nielsen doesn't provide ratings for Canada, the Canadian Press wire service reported Tuesday that 4.862-million viewers tuned in, making it the second-highest rated NHL game for CBC. Only Game 7 of the 1994 final between Vancouver and the New York Rangers drew more (4.9-million).

Minus the pregame and postgame coverage, the game itself drew 5.560-million viewers, more than in '94.

[Last modified June 9, 2004, 01:00:39]

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