The Blackhawks and Chicago delivered again Saturday for NBC and the NHL.
Saturday’s Blackhawks-Pittsburgh outdoor game at Soldier Field in primetime did a 2.1 overnight rating for NBC; complete national numbers will be available today. It was NBC’s highest rating ever for a regular-season, non Winter Classic game.
Here’s why: Chicago did a whopping 14.9 local rating. That means the nation’s third largest market saw an estimated 525,000 homes tuned into the game, or nearly 25 percent of the total viewership for the entire country.
Pittsburgh also did its part with a 13.3 rating. That translates to an estimated 156,000 homes for the nation’s 23rd ranked Nielsen market.
Clearly, though, Chicago, by virtue of its size, is the driver when it comes to NBC and the NHL. It is astounding that a good portion of the city would stay home on a Saturday night to watch a regular-season game.
However, it was snowing, as you might have noticed. It hardly made for great hockey–more like push hockey. Surely, there are purists who think going outdoors are making a mockery out of the game.
But with this kind of rating, expect NBC and the NHL to continue to take games out to the cold and snow. And given the Chicago numbers, they definitely will find a way to get the Blackhawks into the mix.