The D.C. market didn’t pop the number the NHL needs from another dance partner in this game. Without a city like Detroit or Boston (next year’s host, likely) in the game to deliver a ridiculous local figure on its own, the NHL needs both teams to contribute to the audience and the D.C. market couldn’t get there. (Wonder if some of those 40,000-plus Capitals fans at the game are Nielsen families.)
But as we said the last time the ratings dipped: Venue and aesthetics matter.
Wrigley, Fenway and the Big House were draws on their own. Two cookie-cutter ballparks aren’t.
Wrigley had wind. Buffalo and Ann Arbor had frozen temps and swirling snow. The Pittsburgh game was played at night. The Washington game was a downright balmy 43 degrees with blue skies. The draw of any outdoor game remains “teams vs. elements” and sun glare isn’t exactly that compelling.
Matchups matter, too, and this one featured a third-timer in the Blackhawks for outdoor games (including last season at Solider Field) against a team against whom they have absolutely no rivalry. It was an entertaining game, sure, but one that lacked the heat that other matchups had. And the geographic distance between the cities meant the most partisan crowd in the game’s history – didn’t you miss the red vs. blue from the Big House in the stands?
Good job Bettman, the NHL had something great going on and yet in a span of not even 7 years they've managed to absolutely destroy it by:
1. watering it down with the Stadium Series
2. rehashing the same teams again and again
3. matching up two teams that don't have any rivalry nor hatred going on
If the NHL is serious about this thing, they better have a Bruins - Habs matchup at Fenwaypark - have the Dropkick Murphys as the opening act - next year. This also just proves what I've always thought the event itself is nothing, if the participating teams don't have a large enough following, rivalry and the conditions aren't there.
Wings - Leafs had a record breaking 2,9
Teams that deserve one Wild, Avs (hate to say it but yeah...), Bolts, Habs...