Connor Bedard: NHL Debut Breaks Viewership Record At ESPN
The hype is very real. Connor Bedard has arrived and he’s generating the interest of even casual hockey fans. The 2023-24 NHL Season began on Tuesday, October 10th. The Chicago Blackhawks played the Penguins in the middle slate. That game broke records at ESPN.
Per Sports TV Ratings:
The Blackhawks 4-2 win on opening night brought in 1.431 million viewers. It’s the most watched non-Winter Classic NHL game ever. The only game it trailed on the day were both ALDS games on Fox. Still a damn good number for a regular season game to only trail playoff baseball.
Compare that to Predators-Lightning which averaged 598,000 viewers. That was the first game of the night. ESPN averaged 691,000 viewers for Kraken-Golden Knights. It was up 24% from the Vegas opener last year. Of course, that makes some sense given that the VGK lifted the banner.
Kyle Davidson wasn’t lying when he said Bedard was ready to go as a teenager. While playing on a terrible Blackhawks team, Bedard notched an assist in his debut, then a goal in game two against Boston. The kid appears to be the real deal. Blackhawk fans should be very excited with what they’re seeing out of Bedard already. The best news of all, he’s a draw which is only good news for the franchise.
This is only the beginning. Jersey sales, ticket sales, recruitment of other top players. The Blackhawks are on the rise. Bedard is a franchise changer.
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