Things that are more popular than the NHL
I'm here to tell you that it may not even be fourth.
Here are some sports that are more popular on TV than the NHL.
-- Anything that logs a 1.0 rating or better on TV.
The point here isn't to pile on hockey. The point is that the sport has become a niche one in the United States.
Hockey has way more die-hard fans than baseball. But there are way more people that follow baseball and go to baseball games than hockey games.
The trick for the NHL is to either figure out a way to reach a broader audience, or build that core of die-hard fans to a larger number.