Back in Chicago Tribune: Blackhawks as close to national team as any in NHL

Thrilled to be back in the Chicago Tribune today. Hope my picture (it ran in the paper) hasn’t changed much since it first ran in an American League notes column in 1987.

The sports media column is going to run every other Wednesday. Looking forward to working with a lot of old friends.

To read the complete column, look for link on my Twitter feed: @Sherman_Report

Today’s column is about how the Chicago Blackhawks have emerged as a national team for NBC and the NHL. The huge Chicago ratings from an avid fan base in the nation’s third largest market is having a profound impact on NBC and NBC Sports Network’s numbers:

In Chicago, an average of nearly 300,000 viewers tuned in for Game 3 on NBC Sports Network Monday night. That’s nearly 20 percent of the estimated 1.6 million viewers who tuned in across the country.

Let’s say there are many Hawks fans within the executive offices at NBC Sports.

“A big market like Chicago, which is as hot a market as you can have in terms of TV ratings, makes a difference,” said Sam Flood, NBC Sports’ executive producer. “Your ratings are going to be dramatically different for Ottawa-Edmonton than if you have Chicago, Boston or Detroit playing.

“Boston has that kind of reach, but it isn’t as big a market as Chicago. The same with Pittsburgh, Detroit (which do big local ratings). The Rangers have it to some degree, but sports viewership in New York is somewhat splintered. Chicago is a huge market with star power.”





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