Despite there being about 80 million more Americans than in 1980, the number of people who watched Canada beat the United States in overtime for the Olympic gold medal on Sunday was 20% below the number who watched the U.S.-Soviet Union semifinal game in Lake Placid, and even 15% below the U.S.-Finland gold-medal game that same year; And people even knew the outcome of the Soviet Union game before it happened. That's pretty surprising to me. Whereas those 1980 games featured a bunch of no-names, this game had NHL superstars. But I guess it reflects the deterioration of interest in hockey. Still, it was the most-watched hockey game in 30 years.
In Canada, it was the most-watched TV program ever with 80% of Canadians seeing at least part of the game. From MediaWeek:
The matchup, meanwhile, was the most-watched television event in Canadian historically, with an average audience of 16.6 million viewers on the nine television networks within Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium. Almost one-half of the Canadian population watched the entire game on average, while 80 percent of Canadians saw some part of it.