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2017 Frozen Four TV Ratings: Denver-UMD down from 2016 title; remain the top program on ESPN Saturday

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467,000 viewers on average watched the Pioneers win its eighth national championship.

Denver celebrates winning the 2017 NCAA Championship.
Denver celebrates winning the 2017 NCAA Championship.
Matt Dewkett/SB Nation

An average of 467,000 viewers watched Denver win its eighth national championship on ESPN, according to Sports TV Ratings.

Unfortunately, the viewership of the Pioneers’ 3-2 win Saturday over Minnesota Duluth was, like the rest of the 2017 Frozen Four, down from a year ago. More people saw North Dakota defeat Quinnipiac in 2016 despite the championship game being moved last-minute to ESPN2 to accommodate Golden State trying to win its 73rd regular season game. The 2017 total ended up being the lowest on average since 2013’s all-Connecticut final between Yale and Quinnipiac drew 402,000.

After a boost in ratings during the opening rounds, the semifinals and finals did not match. In fact both of the two semifinals on ESPN2 were outdrawn by Minnesota-Notre Dame on ESPNU earlier in the tournament.

Only an average of 155K watched Denver-Notre Dame in the late Thursday semifinal, a drop of over 200K viewers from 2016 and by far the lowest of the last four years. It likely didn’t help that the game didn’t begin until nearly 10 pm ET and was 5-0 after two periods, however. By the time Denver won 6-1 it was already 12:30 AM on the East Coast and 11:30 pm in host city Chicago.

More viewers saw Minnesota Duluth-Harvard in the early semifinal with 178K in a game that came down to Alex Iafallo’s last minute goal. That game outdrew the early 2016 Frozen Four semifinal (in the same time slot). UMD’s win was up 40K on average from Quinnipiac-Boston College.

111K viewers tuned into ESPN2’s coverage between the two semifinals.

If there is a silver lining to the final numbers, the championship game was the most watched program on ESPN Saturday. Denver-Minnesota Duluth beat several editions of Sportscenter and Florida State’s spring game.

All 2017 numbers come from Sports TV Ratings

Frozen Four Title Game ratings since 2009

2017: 467,000 (Denver vs. Minnesota Duluth)

2016: 541,000 (North Dakota vs. Quinnipiac)**

2015: 635,000 (Providence vs. Boston University)

2014: 717,000 (Union vs Minnesota)

2013: 402,000 (Yale vs. Quinnipiac)

2012: 353,000 (Boston College vs. Ferris State)**

2011: 624,000 (Minnesota Duluth vs. Michigan)

2010: 526,000 (Boston College vs. Wisconsin)

2009: 656,000 (Boston University vs. Miami)

**Game aired on ESPN2

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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter --