SBJ/Feb. 24-March 2, 2014/Media

Penguins set for five-peat atop local NHL ratings

Pittsburgh is once again on top in the local TV ratings race among NHL clubs.

Penguins games on Root Sports were averaging a 7.67 rating this season for the team’s games played prior to the Olympic break. It’s an average that’s tops in the league by far and puts the Penguins on pace to have the NHL’s highest local rating for the fifth straight season, as the team completes another strong campaign on the ice, as well.

Pittsburgh’s ratings on Root Sports match its success on the ice.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Pittsburgh sits atop the Eastern Conference standings as NHL clubs return to regular-season play this week following the Olympics.

While the 7.67 average is down from Pittsburgh’s record-setting 12.56 average set during last year’s lockout-shortened season, it’s up 1 percent from the comparable number of games played by the team in the 2011-12 season, the NHL’s last full season.

Typically, ratings rise substantially during a condensed season, such as the NHL’s last year.

The league’s biggest average local TV audience for games has come in Chicago, where Blackhawks games are averaging a league-high 159,000 homes this season. In the 2007-08 season, when CSN Chicago did not carry any of the team’s home games, the Blackhawks averaged just 22,000 homes.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota Wild games on FS North are averaging a 2.98 rating, which marks the team’s highest local rating since the 2008-09 season.

On the other side of the coin, the New Jersey Devils are averaging their lowest local TV rating since the 2005-06 season. The team’s 0.16 rating at the break is the NHL’s lowest so far this season.

Miami continues to be an abysmal TV market for the NHL. The Florida Panthers went into the break tied for the third-lowest point total leaguewide on the ice, and the team’s TV audiences have been similarly small. An average of only 4,000 homes are watching Panthers games on FS Florida this season. That’s a number that’s stayed consistently low since the 2008-09 season and is at the bottom among all teams locally across not only the NHL but also the NBA and MLB, according to SportsBusinsess Journal research.

Columbus also is proving to be a tough TV market, despite the local team being in the playoff hunt. Blue Jackets games on FS Ohio are averaging only 6,000 fans per game in the Columbus market.

It’s been a down year in Philadelphia as well, where a poor start on the ice for the Flyers cost coach Peter Laviolette his job. The team has rebounded in the standings, but the 1.89 average rating for Flyers games on CSN Philadelphia is still down 43 percent from the same point in 2011-12. Flyers telecasts also have dropped an average of 44,000 homes per game since that season.

NHL teams’

RSN ratings

Average Ratings

Top 5

Team RSN Avg. rating (change*)
Pittsburgh Penguins Root Sports 7.67 (+1.3%)
Buffalo Sabres MSG 5.45 (-14.7%)
Boston Bruins NESN 5.06 (+2.0%)
Chicago Blackhawks CSN Chicago 4.49 (+41.6%)
St. Louis Blues FS Midwest 3.95 (+23.1%)

Bottom 5

Team RSN Avg. rating (change*)
New York Islanders MSG+ 0.41 (+95.2%)
Los Angeles Kings FS West 0.37 (+8.8%)
Florida Panthers FS Florida 0.24 (+14.3%)
Anaheim Ducks Prime Ticket 0.23 (-23.3%)
New Jersey Devils MSG+ 0.16 (-44.8%)

RATING CHANGE

Top 5

Team RSN Change* (avg. rating)
Phoenix Coyotes FS Arizona +115.2% (0.71)
New York Islanders MSG+ +95.2% (0.41)
Chicago Blackhawks CSN Chicago +41.6% (4.49)
New York Rangers MSG +37.8% (1.24)
Dallas Stars FS Southwest +37.7% (0.73)

Bottom 5

Team RSN Change* (avg. rating)
Anaheim Ducks Prime Ticket 23.3% (0.23)
San Jose Sharks CSN California 23.7% (1.00)
Columbus Blue Jackets FS Ohio 32.0% (0.68)
Philadelphia Flyers CSN Philadelphia 43.4% (1.89)
New Jersey Devils MSG 44.8% (0.16)

Avg. Audience Size

Top 5

Team RSN Avg. no. of HHs (change*)
Chicago Blackhawks CSN Chicago 159,000 (+48,000)
Boston Bruins NESN 123,000 (+5,000)
New York Rangers MSG 93,000 (+27,000)
Pittsburgh Penguins Root Sports 91,000 (+2,000)
Detroit Red Wings FS Detroit 63,000 (-2,000)

Bottom 5

Team RSN Avg. no. of HHs (change*)
Phoenix Coyotes FS Arizona 13,000 (+7,000)
Anaheim Ducks Prime Ticket 13,000 (-4,000)
New Jersey Devils MSG+ 12,000 (-9,000)
Columbus Blue Jackets FS Ohio 6,000 (-3,000)
Florida Panthers FS Florida 4,000 (+1,000)

AUDIENCE SIZE CHANGE

Top 5

Team RSN Change* (avg. no. of HHs)
Chicago Blackhawks CSN Chicago +48,000 (159,000)
New York Rangers MSG +27,000 (93,000)
New York Islanders MSG+ +15,000 (31,000)
Minnesota Wild FS North +11,000 (52,000)
St. Louis Blues FS Midwest +10,000 (50,000)

Bottom 5

Team RSN Change* (avg. no. of HHs)
Anaheim Ducks Prime Ticket 4,000 (13,000)
Buffalo Sabres MSG 6,000 (35,000)
San Jose Sharks CSN CA 8,000 (25,000)
New Jersey Devils MSG+ 9,000 (12,000)
Philadelphia Flyers CSN Philadelphia 44,000 (56,000)

* Change compared to marks posted through each team’s same number of games played in the 2011-12 season, which was the most recent 82-game slate for clubs. In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, teams played 48 games each starting in January instead of the usual 82 games starting in October.
Note: Comparable data for Carolina, Nashville and the league’s seven Canadian teams was not available.
Source: Nielsen

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