The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the most-watched teams in America. While the previous sentence might sound like some form of nonsensical gloating you might hear from a sports fan, it's actually pretty accurate according to a recent article from Sports Business Daily.
The report states that prior to their final few games of 2013 the Penguins were on pace to post the highest regional ratings of any American MLB, NBA or NHL team since 2002. The Penguins were averaging an incredible 12.56 Nielsen rating in Pittsburgh on Root Sports, a number that's the highest of any United States NHL club on record.
Let's try to put this 12.56 rating in perspective, shall we?
Michael Jordan's final season in Chicago drew an average rating of 8.9 in the Windy City. The Boston Red Sox averaged a 12.20 during their 2007 World Series campaign. Dating back to 1997, only the 2002 Seattle Mariners and their average rating of a 13.2 would best Pittsburgh's local ratings. Pretty impressive company.
Incredibly, the Penguins were able to grow their ratings down the stretch while every other U.S. NHL club saw ratings hold steady or trail off. They also retained and acquired new viewers while their best player, Sidney Crosby, wasn't even playing due to injury.
We'll have to wait until all the numbers are in before we award Pittsburgh with a big "good job", but until then it's nice to see so many fans watching hockey in the Steel City.
And people wonder why NBC puts them on weekly and they are playing in their 3rd outdoor game next year. They bring the viewers. Go Pens.
I love your site and congrats on continuously posting interesting and relevant stories. I'd like to throw a clarification for you though with respect to this article. A ratings point equals one percent of the total televisions in a particular city watching a particular program. If you look at Neilson's DMA rankings, http://www.tvb.org/media/file/TVB_Market_Profiles_Nielsen_Household_DMA_Ranks2.pdf , Pittsburgh has a total market roughly of 1.1 million households. A 12.56 rating in Pittsburgh would be equal to about 138,000 households. By comparison, using 2013 numbers which are most likely not the same as when Jordan was on the Bulls, Chicago has a household population of Over 3.4 million. An 8.9 rating translates to more than double the Pittsburgh audience (over 302,000 households). Although Pittsburgh had a much higher percentage of televisions watching the Penguins, Chicago had more than twice as many people watching the Bulls. Hope that makes sense...
@Jproc the 12.56 is over the entire broadcast area which ROOT sports broadcast to over half of PA so slightly more than 1.1 mil
@Jproc Right, but it's all about market saturation. Obviously Pittsburgh has less total viewers than Chicagoland or the New York area, but these ratings show the passion of the city. Go Pens
And to think just a short several years ago, this team was on the brink of going out of business. What a difference a superstar and new arena makes.