Not that these things are scientific..but yeah, it's like the NHL has a big fan base. In the last several years the media seems hell bent on talking about how the NHL doesn't matter.
There are several NHL cities where the teams outdraw the NBA teams in the same city. It's more then a billion dollar industry. It's the most popular sport for our neighbors to the north.
I don't think the way to attract new fans is to constantly talk about how unpopular something is. The NHL needs to adopt "we're doing our own thing. If you don't like it that's your choice" attitude. The cool kid at lunch wasn't the one running around saying "will you be my friend".
The really sad thing was the first three were very easy for me (NHL, NFL, MLB, in that order), then it was tougher. The major dropoff was after I took soccer, tennis, and "action sports" off. I don't watch any of the rest. I detest the NBA, I don't consider auto racing a sport (100-500 miles of left turns? no thanks), and boxing is a complete joke anyway. But it was nice to see the NHL ranked ahead of the NBA.
hockey's problem isn't size of fanbase... it's that no one watches national TV coverage...
A good point, and something that needs to be worked on. ESPN's coverage had some serious issues. And no, I'm not talking about Gary Thorne and Bill Clement. I actually don't mind them, despite Thorne's flaws announcing, since I think Thorne has a great announcer's voice. Ok, Clement could go and I don't think that'd bother me.
No, what I'm referring to is the direction of their coverage. They have an annoying tendency to focus on everything BUT the puck. Random shots of the bench, lingering on a star player who already passed the puck, etc. Cleaning this up would help out greatly. In addition to some different camera angles, this could help the product greatly.