Penguins Likely To Set NHL Team Record For Best Regular-Season RSN Rating
The Penguins heading into the last week of the NHL regular season were "on pace to post the highest average RSN rating for any U.S.-based MLB, NBA or NHL team since 2002," according to Ourand & Broughton of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Penguins games on Root Sports Pittsburgh were averaging a 12.56 local rating, "a mark that would be the highest RSN rating for any U.S.-based NHL team on record." Only the '02 Mariners, who "pulled a 13.2 average on FSN Northwest that year, would have a higher rating" among U.S. teams in the three aforementioned leagues over the last 15 years. The team has "nearly doubled its TV audience" since the '08-09 season, when it won its most recent Stanley Cup. Root Sports Pittsburgh Senior VP & GM Shawn McClintock said that 16 of the 20 highest-rated Penguins games of all time "occurred this season." Ourand & Broughton note it "wasn't just Pittsburgh that saw a burst of viewership interest in the NHL this year." The RSN audience for 17 of the 21 teams "registered increases, with 16 of them showing double- or triple-digit jumps" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/29 issue).
PENS RULE THE ROOST: In Pittsburgh, Michael Sanserino reported Root Sports Pittsburgh on Saturday night at 7:37pm ET "switched coverage" from the ninth inning of the Pirates-Cardinals game to the Hurricanes-Penguins. The long-running Pirates game "created a conflict for Root Sports," and some fans were "surprised at the move, considering the Penguins game carried no playoff implications." But Pirates Senior Communications Dir Brian Warecki wrote in an e-mail, "All parties discussed the options, determined the coverage plans given many different game scenarios and agreed to those plans well in advance." McClintock said that the RSN "tried to satisfy its baseball fans by keeping the live score on the screen, showing highlights during stoppages in play in the hockey game and airing extended highlights and a postgame interview at conclusion of the Penguins game." MLB Network "picked up coverage" of Pirates-Cardinals after Root Sports switched to the Penguins game (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 4/29).