(CBS) The lockout may have been a black eye for the NHL, but here in Chicago, it's done nothing but increase interest in the Blackhawks.
It's already been well documented that the Blackhawks' season ticket waiting list actually increased by 250 during the lockout and through three games, television ratings are up as well.
Comcast Sports Net Chicago, which aired Sunday night's game against the Phoenix Coyotes and Tuesday's home-opener against the St. Louis Blues announced Wednesday that ratings are up 75 percent compared to the first two games the network aired last season. In fact, Tuesday's game recorded CSN's highest Blackhawks regular season rating ever, a 5.40 household rating that attracted approximately 188,179 households for the entire game. That rating beat the previous record set on March 5, 2010 against the Vancouver Canucks (4.35).
Over the weekend, NBC announced huge ratings for its coverage of Saturday's NHL openers, including a 2.0 rating for regional coverage of the Penguins-Flyers and Blackhawks-Kings games, which aired simultaneously. Those were the highest regular season NHL ratings (not including the Winter Classic) since Jan. 12, 2002.
In Chicago, the Blackhawks-Kings game recorded a 6.6 rating on NBC.
Don't expect interest to fall off too much either. The Blackhawks are off to a 3-0 start with three impressive wins over good teams.
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