Forbes released its rankings of the top fans around the NHL on Friday— and Pittsburgh Penguins fans topped the list.
The media company named the Penguins, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks as having the league’s best fan bases. According to Forbes’ Christina Settimi, it’s the third time Sidney Crosby’s team has topped their list since they started creating it annually in 2009. All three teams have seen tremendous success this decade; the Blackhawks won the most Stanley Cups (three) of any team, the Penguins won back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016 and the Bruins won it all in 2011 and returned to the playoffs’ final round twice more.
According to the report’s research, Nielsen ratings show the Blackhawks are currently a more popular draw on television than the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, and that Chicago-area sports fans are more likely to have watched, attended or listened to a Blackhawks game than a Bulls contest.
Forbes did not disclose its entire 31-team ranking in order to protect sensitive data, but it did reveal a few other insights from its study of fans in 2019. The Vegas Golden Knights, a franchise in just its third season of play, ranked as the league’s fourth-best fan base.
“There is a unique bond between the fans and this city. Part of that is we are Vegas-born and the first ones here,” Vegas team president Kerry Bubolz told Forbes.
The Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators held up the back of the top 10 at No. 8 and No. 9, respectively. In addition, the St. Louis Blues take seventh place, while the Montreal Canadiens reportedly fell off Forbes’ top 10 ranking entirely this year.
Settimi wrote that it rates team’s fan bases on the following metrics: local television ratings (Nielsen and local Canadian reports), stadium attendance based on capacity reached, secondary ticket market (via StubHub, specifically), merchandise sales (from Fanatics) and social media reach based on the team’s metro area population.
The publication said it noted no distinct correlation between its list of most valuable NHL teams in 2019 (the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs top that list) and its ranking of best fan bases.