One visit to the United Center is about all it takes to see just how much the Blackhawks' fan base has grown over the last few years. After winning two Stanley Cups in four seasons, the defending champions have become quite an attraction as they continue to draw in fans across the country.
But in today's world, a sporting event goes so much beyond watching a game in-person or on TV as social media has become key in sharing the in-game experience. TicketCity communications director Meredith Owen helped take a look at the numbers behind game attendance, social media following and ticket demand to determine which NHL teams have the most engaged fans this season.
So just where do the Blackhawks rank according to TicketCity's research?
1. Toronto Maple Leafs (same as 2012-13)
2. Boston Bruins (+2 from 2012-13)
3. Chicago Blackhawks (+4 from 2012-13)
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (-1 from 2012-13)
5. Detroit Red Wings (+1 from 2012-13)
The Blackhawks experienced a 33 percent increase in its Facebook following beginning with the 2012-13 playoff run, earning the most "likes" in the NHL at 1.6 million. Last season the Hawks ranked fourth in this category.
Additionally, the number of Blackhawks' Twitter followers has increased by 95 percent in the last 12 months — now giving them the fourth-most followers among NHL teams — while the cost for tickets on the secondary market has increased by 20 percent.
**Note: The overall rankings are computed in terms of the following metrics: Average home attendance (20), average ticket price (20), Facebook likes (5), Facebook talking about (5), Twitter following (10), average monthly Google searches for team-based keywords (10)**
A look around the rest of the league:
— The Maple Leafs hold the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in the league for the most Twitter followers, average attendance and most expensive ticket on the secondary market ($191 average price).
— TicketCity stated that the "Boston Strong effect" likely played a big role in the Bruins' jump, in addition to their appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins' Twitter following increased by 76 percent since last season.
— The NHL as a whole has seen a huge bump in social media numbers throughout the last 12 months since the lockout ended. The average growth in Twitter followers for each NHL team was at 56 percent.