SBJ/April 18-24, 2011/Media

Penguins top local TV draw in NHL, again

Is Pittsburgh the new Hockey Town?

For at least the fourth consecutive season, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the kings of the NHL’s local TV ratings, as Pens games on Root Sports this season averaged the league’s highest rating of 8.68.

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In the NHL's 22nd largest market, the Penguins attracted the league's largest local TV audience.
The Penguins also have attracted the NHL’s largest average audience, at 101,000 homes per game, even though Pittsburgh is the league’s 22nd largest market.

Overall, local TV ratings presented a mixed bag for the league, with 11 of the 22 teams for which SportsBusiness Journal has data showing increases. Data was not available for the six Canadian clubs, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps the most impressive showing was in St. Louis, where Blues games on FS Midwest posted a 32 percent increase even though the team did not make the playoffs. St. Louis finished the season ranked fifth in the NHL’s ratings grid, with a 3.07 average, which equals 39,000 homes.

On the other side of the coin, one of the league’s best on-ice teams, the San Jose Sharks, experienced one of the biggest local ratings drops. Sharks games were down 28 percent on CSN California. Its 0.80 rating placed 14th; its 20,000 average households finished 16th.

Not surprisingly, the league’s biggest markets posted the biggest local TV audiences. Following Pittsburgh, the largest local TV audiences came in Chicago (96,000 average homes on CSN Chicago), Boston (77,000 on NESN), Detroit (76,000 on FS Detroit), Philadelphia (71,000 on CSN Philadelphia) and New York (59,000 for Rangers games on MSG).

The Florida Panthers continued to suffer through TV problems. The club’s 0.16 rating and 3,000-home average were both league lows. Atlanta didn’t fare much better on FS South and SportSouth, finishing second to last in ratings and households.


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