It was February 17, in Seoul, South Korea, the location of the 2018 Winter Olympics. In the first year without NHL players participating since 1994, the Olympic Athletes from Russia were the favorites, as the Kontinental Hockey League had ceased play so Russian athletes could participate in the tournament. The Pavel Datsyuk-led squad was set to play after posting a 1-1 record, although they were coming off a dominating 8-2 victory over Team Slovenia. Their opponents, the United States, also came in 1-1, fresh off a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Slovakia. How were people in the United States preparing for the game?
They weren’t. In fact, if you had asked anyone in the U.S. about the 4:10 pm EST start time, it’s likely most wouldn’t be able to tell you the name of a player on the U.S. team, let alone who their country’s opponent was that day. In fact, the men’s games saw an average around 1.4 million viewers in the states, which was three times less than some games in the 2014 Sochi Games.