Filed under the category of “things that probably will not surprise”, the Chicago Blackhawks television ratings plummeted during the NHL season 2017-18, as they missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in a decade.
On Twitter, Sports Network correspondent Rick Westhead, who cited data from the SportsBusiness Daily, assessed the decline in TV ratings: Blackhawks had the second-largest drop in TV ratings from the 2016-17 season, down 29 percent. Only a 36 percent drop in the New York Rangers was more.
Most of the other information provided by this data is not too surprising. Nashville Predators, one of the team’s growing franchises, saw the biggest growth in the audience, jumping by 163 percent over the previous season. Traditional hockey markets, such as Pittsburgh, Buffalo and St. Louis, remained high on the list of markets with the largest number of spectators, while some of the less developed hockey markets, such as Arizona and Florida, were at the bottom.
The trend towards a downward trend in games for Blackhawks has been going on for three years. According to this article from Crain, which came out at the end of the regular season of 2016-1917, viewers who watched Blackhawks hockey in NBC Sports Chicago lost 23 percent during the two seasons following the season in the 2014-15 season. The decline in viewers in the 2016-17 season was partly due to the attention paid to the Chicago Cubs during their World Series in 2016, and the numbers improved in the following months of the regular season after the MLB Matches ended.
But the Blackhawks did not match the maximum numbers set during the shutdown-shortened season of 2012-13, when they caught the attention of the entire sports world, going 21-0-3 in the first half of the 48-game season.