USA TODAY Sports
If the Blackhawks defeat the Blue Jackets tonight, NBC gets another ride on the Chicago Blackhawks ratings gravy train after they set another ratings record last night.
I'm sure some of you are as tired of reading about the Blackhawks' local television ratings as fans in the Western Conference and Central Division are of the Hawks' 17-0-3 start to the season. Alas, as long as the numbers stay big, the Blackhawks remain news-worthy.
Chicago's 3-0 shutout win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night drew a massive 7.54 rating in the country's third-largest television market. That equates to over 262,000 households (not viewers, mind you) tuning in, records for Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. This breaks the previous record, a 7.41 set all of nine days ago.
The ten-highest rated Blackhawk games in CSN Chicago history have all happened this season, which is remarkable. But bigger fish worth frying lie ahead. On Sunday, the Hawks return to NBC for the first time since Hockey Day in America for a Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET start against the Red Wings. Whether or not Chicago remains undefeated in regulation (they take on the Blue Jackets tonight on NHL Network before Sunday's game) could determine whether NBC gets a big ratings boost both regionally and nationally, as the Hawks crossover into general interest sports story. A rivalry game like Detroit likely increases the ratings in both markets.
The Blackhawks have averaged a 5.53 on CSN Chicago through 17 games, up 91 percent from this point last year. They are outdrawing the local ratings of every other team in the city, save for the Bears. It's really quite amazing, but then again, wouldn't any fanbase get more into it with a run like this?
What follows is the ten-highest rated games ever on CSN Chicago, and the local numbers the Blackhawks have drawn on NBC this season.
CSN Chicago top-rated Blackhawks broadcasts
1. Chicago vs. St. Louis (Feb. 28, 2013): 7.54
2. Vancouver vs. Chicago (Feb. 19, 2013): 7.41
3. Edmonton vs. Chicago (Feb. 25, 2013): 6.60
4. San Jose vs. Chicago (Feb. 22, 2013): 6.59
5. Detroit vs. Chicago (Jan. 27, 2013): 6.31
6. Columbus vs. Chicago (Feb. 24, 2013): 5.90
7. Chicago vs. Phoenix (Feb. 7, 2013): 5.70
8. Anaheim vs. Chicago (Feb. 12, 2013): 5.58
t9. Chicago vs. Nashville (Feb. 10, 2013): 5.40
t9. St. Louis vs. Chicago (Jan. 22, 2013): 5.40
NHL on NBC ratings in Chicago for Blackhawks telecasts
Chicago vs. Los Angeles (Jan. 19, 2013): 6.6
Los Angeles vs. Chicago (Feb. 17, 2013): 5.7