It didn’t take long for the Winter Classic to find its way back to Chicago and the city, along with the Blackhawks, can thank Connor Bedard for that effect.
The Chicago Sun-Times Ben Pope first reported that the Winter Classic will return to Chicago, this time against the St. Louis Blues instead of the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field. The game will be the typical New Year’s staple and is all but guranteed to destroy the abysmal ratings of the more recent offering between Vegas and Seattle.
There’s a chance the 2024-25 version of the Blackhawks will feature even more of the younger talent that’s bursting at the seams everywhere from the University of Michigan to the KHL. But the Blackhawks, Bedard, and the Winter Classic at the iconic Wrigley Field equates to big bucks.
And for those upset about it, they should know the bottom line always wins with professional sports.
Blackhawks, Bedard at Wrigley Field Equals Ratings Success
The buzz around the Winter Classic has faded with time, but it’s a normal expectation for something that becomes a yearly staple. It also heavily depends upon the venue, the competitiveness of the teams involved, and the respective fanbases of those teams.
In this regard, the Blackhawks-Blues game checks all three boxes. First, it’s at beautiful Wrigley Field, with all of its history and the 2009 classic in the background. Imagine if snow falls during that game. The rivalry includes an old Norris Rivalry, that while it won’t have the same punch as the Wings-Hawks rivalry in 2009, it’ll still get the blood boiling.
Then there’s the competitiveness. The Blackhawks will likely be taking a bigger step forward next season, knowing that time is of the essence along with building good habits and culture as the younger players find their way to Chicago.
Finally, Bedard has been a ratings bonanza for the league and for local ratings as well.
It’s a no-brainer for the NHL and though many fanbases will lament and point to favortism, it’ll end up a cash cow for the team and the league.
Happy New Year Chicago. An old tradition in the last decade will be returning mid-way through this one.