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Hockey Getting Noticed In The U.S.

from Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy,

Hockey fans in the U.S. take what we can get when it comes to validation of our sport’s popularity.

We celebrate minimal upticks in television ratings that still put the NHL behind children’s cartoon shows on cable. We beam when there’s an NHL jersey or reference spotted in a mainstream sitcom or movie. We treat that Sports Illustrated cover story from nearly 20 years ago — “Why The NHL’s Hot and the NBA’s Not” — as proof that we were one lockout away from capturing the hearts and minds of U.S. sports fans.

So allow us the delusion that this new Harris Poll provides. In its annual examination of what American fans deem their “favorite” sports, football is king, baseball is fading, and hockey has just as many favorites as basketball — pro or college. Huzzah!


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

As much as I love hockey, I know it will probably never be a nationally popular sport. But as long as there’s Center Ice so I can watch the Wings and a Rec League for me to play in, I couldn’t care less how popular the NHL is with the overall population in this country.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 01/27/12 at 04:09 PM ET


It’s not surprising at all to me that the NBA and NHL are roughly equal in terms of “most favorite sport” status.

The problem, as some commenters have pointed out, is that many “general” sports fans out there (the people who might likely have chosen the NFL or college football or some other sport) also follow basketball to some degree. Maybe it isn’t their favorite, but they have a rooting interest, they watch games, etc. Since basketball gets a lot of coverage (on ESPN, on sports radio, etc.) in “general” sports formats, it’s very easy to follow casually. Even a very passive sports consumer (i.e., somebody who watches PTI or listens to ESPN radio in their car) who rarely watches basketball games can still be fairly knowledgeable about the major goings-on in the NBA.

Hockey is not easy to follow casually, because none of the mainstream sports outlets will touch it with a 10-foot pole. If you want to follow hockey, you’ve got to make a conscious effort to watch and follow it yourself. Most people won’t do that.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 01/27/12 at 06:05 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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