Scarborough Data Shows Blackhawks' Popularity In Chicago At An All-Time High
The Blackhawks "are the only team" in Chicago that gained fans this year with an all-time high 47% fan rating, despite the fact that the franchise "was once the most anonymous in the city among the giants of the Bears, Bulls and baseball teams," according to Scarborough Research data cited by Shannon Ryan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Since '07, when just 8% of surveyed Chicagoans watched, listened to or attended a game, "the fan base has skyrocketed." Scarborough Sports Marketing VP/Sales Bill Nielsen: "Overall a rise like that is really pretty unprecedented." Scarborough's research found that there was "only one instance where a hockey team had a higher percentage of fans than an NFL team" in the same city: the Red Wings (58%) in '03 surpassed the Lions (49%). Nielsen: "This is just a simple what-have-you-done-for-me-lately. The best, hottest, most successful team in the city has been the Blackhawks." Team execs said that the franchise's "structural organization, marketing, increased media presence, relatable players and fan outreach also are credited for the rise in popularity." Blackhawks Chair Rocky Wirtz: "We said in 2007 we wanted to be relevant because we weren't relevant." Team President & CEO John McDonough said that a "cohesive collaboration between the hockey and business side of the organization is the less obvious catalyst behind the numbers." The Blackhawks "strive to make their players accessible to media and the public, and they're always promoting the brand." The players, who "mostly live in the city rather than suburbs, are required to wear their hats facing forward and encouraged to use reporters' names and be prepared for interviews" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/9).