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The only huge audience for the Blues’ victory party Saturday that was 51 seasons in the making wasn’t in downtown St. Louis. Television ratings also were big.

Nielsen, which tracks viewership, reported Monday that 24.6 percent of homes in the market with a TV tuned in to the coverage of the parade. That’s the combined rating for the five outlets that carried the festivities — KSDK (Channel 5), KMOV (Channel 4), KTVI (Channel 2), Fox Sports Midwest and NHL Network. It encompasses the period from noon-3 p.m., the duration of the procession.

How big is that number? It surpassed the rating in St. Louis for not only every Blues game in the regular season and first three rounds of the playoffs, but even two contests in the Stanley Cup Final.

As expected with the lengthy ceremonies, the ratings decreased as the day progressed. Following the 3-hour parade, the team’s rally on the Arch grounds lasted from approximately 3-3:45 p.m. and the five stations’ combined number for that was 19.1 (Channel 2’s coverage had moved to KPLR, Channel 11, then in order for KTVI to show the U.S. Open golf tournament.)

That was a raucous affair that included a lot of giddy (apparently well-lubricated) comments from the stage, some with shall we say “colorful” language, from players, alums and team personnel.

IN REVIEW

Going into the festivities, the betting favorite to have the best coverage would have been Fox Sports Midwest and KTVI (Channel 2), which combined forces for a joint telecast that was shown on both outlets as well as nationally on NHL Network. After all, FSM is the Blues’ local TV home and produces their telecasts, and Channel 2 is a Fox over-the-air affiliate and its personnel also were being utilized. However, that coverage was the worst.

While the parade was taking place, channels 2 and 4 were concentrating on the two streets where the action was — 18th, then Market. Reporters were running along the streets to get interviews and even jumping on moving vehicles. The edge of one of the shoes of KSDK’s Rene Knott was run over, and KMOV’s Laura Hettiger was dealing with an unruly fan. This type of mayhem was interspersed with shots of exuberant players leaping off vehicles to greet fans lining the route as well as impromptu conversations with many of them. It was high-energy, although certainly not the most polished, TV.

But while all that was going on FSM-KTVI was low key, spending way too much time focusing on the Arch grounds and showing its hosts chit-chatting on a set and carrying video of the crowd gathering there. Who cares? It still would be a long time before the team’s arrival.

That production did have some parade interviews, but not nearly as many as the others. Also, the Fox version was chock-full of commercials while the rest had long ad-free blocks. And most of Fox Sports Midwest’s Blues commentators were in the parade, thus not being part of that coverage then.

Not surprisingly, the ratings reflect the presentations. For the parade, KSDK averaged a 10.3 figure and KMOV was at 7.0. KTVI was at 5.1, followed by FSM (2.0) and NHL Network (0.2). The combined rating for KSDK and KMOV was 17.3, routing the number for the three outlets showing the Fox coverage. They were at 7.3.

For the rally KSDK (8.3) and KMOV (6.8) trounced the Fox fare, which averaged a 4.0 figure.

BEATING BOSTON

The Blues not only topped the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup for the first time, but the Gateway City surpassed Beantown in the TV ratings for the series.

The seven games were seen in an average of 28.6 percent of TV households in St. Louis, 25.4 percent in Boston. Individually, St. Louis did better for the five contests on NBC, Boston prevailed for the two on cable’s NBCSN.

Ratings

Note: The rating is the percentage of homes with a TV tuning in. Games 2, 3 on NBCSN, rest on NBC (KSDK, Channel 5 locally). Source: Nielsen.

Game St. Louis Boston
1. 29.0 25.2
2. 22.0 22.9
3. 16.1 20.6
4. 28.0 26.0
5. 30.1 25.3
6. 33.0 27.6
7. 41.8 30.2
Avg. 28.6 25.4

Dan Caesar is the sports media critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.