Game 7 of the Western Conference Final between the Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings set a record as the most-watched hockey game ever on NBCSN, beating out the USA-Russia matchup in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The previous record for an NHL game was Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins last season.
Notice a pattern here?
Chicago delivered its highest ratings for an NBCSN broadcast ever on Sunday night with a 22.7 rating — Los Angeles delivered a 4.8. The top three markets for the Game 7 showdown were as follows:
1. Chicago: 22.7
2. Buffalo: 7.3 (pretty sure we can thank Patrick Kane for that)
3. Los Angeles: 4.8
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul: 4.3
5. Boston: 3.9
It's no secret that the Blackhawks fanbase in Chicago has exploded the last few years — winning two Stanley Cups in four seasons will do that. Nowadays it's nearly impossible to even walk around downtown for more than a block without seeing someone wearing Blackhawks gear.
But is the majority of Chicago's hockey growth still focused solely on the Blackhawks? Or is the Windy City developing a greater appreciation for the NHL as a whole?
Ed Sherman of the Sherman Report took a look at the numbers between the Western Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final, determining just how many Chicagoans still showed interest in the series between Los Angeles and New York.
During Game 1, Chicago did a 3.8 overnight rating on NBC — the second-best for a Game 1, trailing Boston and Chicago's last season.
Perhaps fans wanted to keep a close eye considering the Kings are the team that ended the Blackhawks' season just days ago. But while there's still plenty of hockey to be played this series, that initial rating shows the potential growth for the NHL as a whole within the Windy City.