The Connor Bedard effect is real, and it is sending the Blackhawks back to the pond
The Chicago Blackhawks may be struggling for wins in the 2023-2024 season. But that isn’t stopping the NHL from putting the Hawks back in the Winter Classic. With “the Connor Bedard effect” in full swing, the NHL wants to take full advantage of the hype around the rookie phenom.
NHL Network insider Elliotte Friedman shared some news on Thursday, on the 2025 Winter Classic. And the Blackhawks are the favorite:
Friedman on TJMS talking Blackhawks and Winter Classic: “It is going to be Hawks, initially I didn’t know if it was going to be Hawks at home or Hawks on the road, after we mentioned it on the pod I had people who were kind of hinting, don’t be surprised if it’s Hawks at home”
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) January 4, 2024
In his written “32 Thoughts” column on Thursday, Friedman expanded on his claims about the Blackhawks being in the 2025 Winter Classic, citing the massive TV viewing for Connor Bedard’s NHL debut as a driving factor:
If you were tired of seeing the Blackhawks on Jan. 1, buy a comfortable pillow/blanket — because they are back…
Unfortunately, the television numbers weren’t high in the United States (in reference to the 2024 Winter Classic in Seattle), currently standing second in 2023-24 to Connor Bedard’s Opening Night debut. You think the NHL’s unaware of that? The word in Seattle was Bedard’s going to be involved next season, and since mentioning that on Monday’s pod, its become clear this is Chicago’s event to lose.
The NHL will want to try and have a bounce back in viewership in 2025 after this years Winter Classic was the lowest viewership for a Winter Classic in NHL history. The experiment with the new kids on the block provided a really cool event, as the Winter Classic usually does, but it didn’t bring in the views the NHL was hoping for. A large part of the lack in viewership could be that the Winter Classic was competing with the start time of the College Football Playoff semi-final, the Rose Bowl.
The Connor Bedard hype train is a good way to get the TV numbers back up. The Hawks in the 2025 Winter Classic for Bedard’s first outdoor game is sure to sway a few more people to tune in.
Chicago is likely to host the 2025 Winter Classic
It has been established that the 2025 Winter Classic will most likely feature the Blackhawks, outside of an unforeseen issue or change of heart from the league. The next question is where will it be, and who will the Hawks opponent be?
NBC Sports Boston reported earlier this week that the Blackhawks hosting another outdoor game at Wrigley Field was a “front-runner.” The report indicates that the St. Louis Blues could be the opponent. The Blues and Blackhawks took to the pond back in 2017. The host Blues throttled the Blackhawks 4-1.
The Blackhawks hosted the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field against the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit won the game 6-4, but it was a fantastic event. It really signified that team’s coming out party on a national stage. The NHL clearly sees this as a huge marketing opportunity for Connor Bedard’s Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks have never won a Winter Classic. The Blackhawks only outdoor win came at Soldier Field in a 2014 Stadium Series game versus the Penguins. 2025 could allow Connor Bedard the opportunity to get the Blackhawks their first Winter Classic win. Doing so at the infinitely iconic Wrigley Field would be the perfect setup for a smash hit event in person and on TV.
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