Study rates Blackhawks fans as best in NHL

Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks

In what has been a recent struggle for the NHL in terms of ratings and television coverage, there have still been a large number of diehard fans that keep the sport alive.

Forbes created a ranking of the NHL's top fan bases in terms of the following: local television ratings (per Nielsen and Canadian partners), arena attendance (based on capacity reached), resale ticket demand (per Vivid Seats), merchandise sales (per Fanatics and Shop.NHL.com), and social media reach (a combination of Facebook and Twitter followers).

The results were pretty interesting.

Chicago Blackhawks fans took the No. 1 spot for the first time.

Chicago has won three Stanley Cups since 2008 and their home games feature some of the league's most rowdy crowds. In fact, the United Center has hosted 385 sellout crowds since March 2008 and season ticket holders are renewing at a 99.8 percent clip with 20,000 people on the waiting list. On the secondary ticket market, tickets consistently sell for three-times the average ticket price for a median of $225.

When the team goes on the road, the ticket price is 44 percent higher than the home team's median price, which is an indication of Chicago's position as one of the league's premier franchises.
To give you a sense of how Blackhawks fans travel, check out this incredible reaction on a game-winning goal.

That was supposed to be a road game, but they clearly had the crowd on their side.

Pittsburgh Penguins fans were dropped to No. 2 after being ranked No. 1 since the first Forbes ranking came out in 2009, where they share the honor with followers of the Montreal Canadiens.

The most surprising of all was perhaps the base of the Winnipeg Jets, who debuted at No. 7 on the list, which was the first in which enough data was eligible to rank them.

Fans of the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs rounded out the top five.

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