The Blackhawks didn’t exactly make their best impression during Sunday’s nationally televised Stadium Series game against the Wild, but fear not Chicago fans – most of the country wasn’t watching anyway.
According to Sports Media Watch, the 6-1 Blackhawks loss was the least-watched outdoor hockey game to ever air on NBC – drawing an overnight rating of just 1.2. The station has aired 11 outdoor games in all, including Winter Classics, Stadium Series and Heritage Series games.
Sunday’s game wasn’t even on par with Chicago’s nationally televised indoor game against the Bruins last season and was overshadowed on Sunday bythe Daytona 500 on FOX (6.1), PGA Tour on CBS (2.8) and NBA on ABC (2.7), the report said.
The fact that the Wild led 4-0 midway through the second period likely caused many fans to flip the channel, but perhaps the novelty of the outdoor game is finally wearing off. After all, Blackhawks fans have now seen their team play outdoorsfour times in the past eight seasons.
But according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, oversaturation isn’t the issue.
Bettman said fans, communities and teams cannot get enough of the outdoor games and that they’re far from being overdone or oversaturated. After several years of lobbying, the Wild finally landed one for 2016.
It will be interesting to see if Sunday’s ratings have any effect on the 2017 Winter Classic, for which the Blackhawks appear to be in strong consideration. Meanwhile, 13 teams have never played in an outdoor game.