Major sporting markets such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit and New York are credited with driving in some of the largest revenues for the National Hockey League. With the Rangers making a strong push for the Stanley Cup this post-season, including two Game 7s, the need for them to make the Finals is growing more and more obvious.
Let's take a look at the benefit for the NHL of having the Rangers compete for the Cup.
The NHL has one of the richest traditions in professional sports. The league first formed in 1917 after the elimination of its predecessor, the National Hockey Association (NHA).
The first formed team was the Boston Bruins, and by 1942 the concept of the Original Six was born. These teams included the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The tradition the title of being an Original Six team carries with it is increased ratings and fan loyalty. These markets are almost guaranteed to have sell-out crowds, and dedicated fans who rarely miss a game.
Garnering the kind of attention that these six teams do is essential to the expansion of popularity for the league.
History has proven that large market and Original Six teams contribute a significant boost to television ratings and revenue. While in recent years the number has somewhat leveled off with increased Canadian team participation, their impact is noticeable.
Since NHL Network's launch in the United States five years ago, distribution has increased to 43 million homes. The NHL's partnership with the NBC Sports Network has significantly boosted the playoff ratings this year.
To throw some television ratings at you, Game 3 of the Capitals and Rangers series held a 3.99 rating in the tri-state area. That number was an increase of 93-percent since the last time the Rangers reached the conference semifinals.
NBC Sports Network reported that through two rounds, viewership was up 50-percent since last year.
The NHL has a lot invested in the King of New York, including this video focused solely on Lundqvist in the new "Because It's The Cup" campaign.
Sports thrive on having superstars and the NHL is no exception. Baseball in New York has its Derek Jeter and David Wright, football has Eli Manning (not Mark Sanchez), and basketball has Carmelo Anthony. Having a figure as prominent as Lundqvist is every marketing department's greatest ally.
Lundqvist is always in the discussion for a Vezina and an MVP trophy, and this year he is even more qualified than ever. With a Rangers Stanley Cup win, or at least a solid performance in the Finals, the NHL will vindicate one of its current larger representatives.
The New York market is incomparable in what it has to offer in terms of an audience. Whether New York is involved in the playoffs or a championship series has the ability to make or break ratings for that season.
New York is the only region with at least two teams in each major league. Specifically in the NHL, New York offers three teams: the Islanders, Rangers and Sabres. Combining the amount of teams with the fact that New York is the most populated city in the United States makes the city a significant player in revenue generation.
For comparison purposes, the second most populated city in the U.S. is Los Angeles, which has 3.7 million people compared to New York's 8.1 million.