Filed under the category of “things that likely won’t be surprising,” the Chicago Blackhawks television ratings plummeted during the NHL 2017-18 season, as they missed out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in a decade.
In a tweet from The Sports Network correspondent Rick Westhead, who cited data from SportsBusiness Daily, the drop in TV ratings was quantified: the Blackhawks had the second biggest decline in television ratings from the 2016-17 season, falling 29 percent. Only the New York Rangers’ 36 percent drop was larger.
No U.S.-based NHL team had higher local reg.-season TV ratings than the Pittsburgh Penguins this year.— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) April 24, 2018
Lowest TV ratings? Anaheim.
Biggest gainer? Preds.
Biggest decline? NY Rangers.
Interesting data from team at @sbjsbd pic.twitter.com/oM0CRvHDPz
Much of the other information provided by this data isn’t too surprising. The Nashville Predators, one of the team’s rising franchises, saw the biggest increase in viewership, jumping 163 percent from last season’s numbers. Traditional hockey markets like Pittsburgh, Buffalo and St. Louis remained high on the list of markets with the most viewers, while some of the less-established hockey markets like Arizona and Florida were near the bottom.
The downward trend in viewership for Blackhawks games has been going on for three years. According to this article from Crain’s that came at the end of the 2016-17 regular season, the audience watching Blackhawks hockey on NBC Sports Chicago dropped 23 percent in the two seasons that followed the 2014-15 Cup-winning season. The decrease in viewers for the 2016-17 season was partially blamed on the attention given to the Chicago Cubs during their 2016 World Series’ run, and numbers did improve in the later months of the regular season after the MLB postseason ended.
But the Blackhawks have failed to match the peak numbers set during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, when they caught the attention of the entire sports world by going 21-0-3 in the first half of the 48-game season.