Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates in the locker room with the Stanley Cup after the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five to win the best of seven game series 4-1 during the Stanley Cup Final of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on July 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Scott Audette | National Hockey League | Getty Images
The final numbers are in, and the National Hockey League’s attracted 3.6 million viewers for Game 5 of its Stanley Cup Final on NBC, the league’s last season on the network.
On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens, 1-0, to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Like pro basketball, the NHL’s main event is off schedule due to the pandemic. But compared to the 2020 Stanley Cup, which was played last September, viewership recovered.
This series averaged 2.52 million viewers. The 2020 series, featuring the Lightning and Dallas Stars, averaged roughly 2 million viewers throughout six games. The 2019 Stanley Cup Final featured the Boston Bruins – one of the “original six” hockey clubs in the NHL – and St. Louis Blues, and averaged 5.3 million viewers throughout seven games.
The first four games of the 2021 series averaged a total audience delivery (combines linear, cable, and streaming) of 2.23 million viewers on NBC’s broadcast network and sports channel (NBCSN).
The NHL ended its 16-year relationship with NBC this year and moved to ESPN and WarnerMedia. The league increased its media rights fee to more than $625 million per year courtesy of the new deals. ESPN and TNT will divide the upcoming Stanley Cup broadcasts.
Pat Maroon #14 of the Tampa Bay Lightning hoists the Stanley Cup after their 1-0 win in Game Five of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final to win the series four games to one against the Montreal Canadiens at Amalie Arena on July 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Florence Labelle | National Hockey League | Getty Images
A new way to activate
But before NBC Sports concluded its coverage, Lightning left winger Patrick Maroon executed a personal business deal.
Maroon became the first NHL player to activate a marketing agreement after the Lightning clinched the series. While conducting an on-ice interview with NBC, he mentioned Shavelogic and triggered their deal. The company makes shaving products and signed Maroon to a six-figure contract with stock options and an ambassador role. The agreement was negotiated by NHL agent Rob Grant of Octagon’s hockey division.
Shavelogic also signed a deal with the NHL in May and is now allowed to leverage the league’s intellectual property and have its brand displayed at future Stanley Cup events.
Maroon, 33, finished the NHL regular season with 18 points (14 goals and four assists) in 55 games. He has one year remaining on his contract, valued at $1 million. In his career, Maroon has made $15 million, according to Spotrac.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.