The Blackhawks' home opener against the Las Vegas Golden Knights last Saturday generated the highest average ticket price for a Hawks game in five years, according to Vivid Seats.
The average ticket price for the game was $209, about a 50% increase from the most expensive game during that five-year time frame. A December 2019 game against the New York Islanders saw an average ticket price of $148 for the Blackhawks, according to ESPN.
The arrival of 18-year-old sensation Connor Bedard has paid off incredible dividends for the Blackhawks. Not only are ticket prices soaring, but the television ratings are off the charts for the team's games, too.
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Bedard's NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins and his idol, Sidney Crosby, raked in 1.43 million viewers for ESPN, who streamed his debut. That marked ESPN's most-watched regular season NHL game in its history, excluding the Winter Classic.
The following game against the Boston Bruins, Bedard and the Blackhawks did it again. They gifted TNT with their most-watched regular season NHL game in history by bringing in 917,000 viewers. In this game, Bedard scored his first official NHL goal.
It's not just the Blackhawks who are trying to capitalize on Bedard's presence in the league, either. The NHL has slowly crafted a robust strategy to better market their young stars and the game of hockey, itself.
That started with a deal between the NHL and ESPN to broadcast games each season. Then it steamrolled into curated content from new specialty shows with household-named personalities, like Wayne Gretzky. The strategy became more apparent when Bedard appeared on "The Pat McAfee Show," a popular sports news show now streamed by ESPN.
This is all to say, it's not going to stop. Bedard's proven early in his rookie season he's the real deal, making it impossible not to know about him, at this point.
He has two quick goals to his name along with two assists. He's also averaging a whopping 20:18 on the ice per game this season, giving fans more reason to tune into and attend Blackhawks games.
Get on it before it leaves. The Bedard train has arrived.