The NCAA men’s hockey championship reached fewer viewers for the second consecutive year. Sports TV Ratings reported that 541,000 viewers watched North Dakota beat Quinnipiac 5-1 in Saturday night’s national title game.
North Dakota’s large fan base arguably helped boost ratings, but the late bump to ESPN2 likely hurt viewership. ESPN moved the championship game to ESPN2 for the opportunity to broadcast Golden State and Steph Curry’s run for an NBA-record 73 win.
The Warriors’ 71st victory drew 2.2 million viewers while airing at the same time of the men’s hockey final. North Dakota’s first championship in 16 years was the most-watched program on ESPN2 over the weekend and attracted nearly 200,000 more viewers than the 2012 title game featuring Boston College vs. Ferris State that also aired on ESPN2.
The matchup also drew more viewers than each of the last two national championship appearances by Quinnipiac (2012/353,000) and North Dakota (2005/413,000).
Last year’s national championship featuring Providence and Boston University attracted 635,000 viewers. The 2014 title game between the Gophers and Union drew 717,000 viewers and the best college hockey rating in past decade. Both games were on ESPN.
This year’s Frozen Four semifinals attracted 499,000 viewers, which was up from the 2015 Frozen Four semis that drew 486,000 viewers.
The most-watched college hockey game this year wasn’t a men’s game. The tape-delay broadcast of the women’s Frozen Four final between the Gophers and Boston College attracted 651,000 viewers on CBS.