Penguins find their way back to top of local ratings
The NHL has a new local TV ratings king. It looks a lot like the league’s old local TV ratings king.
After a two-year respite, Pittsburgh Penguins games on AT&T Pittsburgh are the league’s highest again, as the team’s 5.81 rating beat out Buffalo Sabres games on MSG (4.62 rating). The Sabres had been the NHL’s top-rated club the previous two seasons but finished this season with the NHL’s worst record and registered a 26 percent decrease from last year.
The Penguins were tops for six straight years before that. Penguins ratings are down 2 percent this year, which marked the team’s lowest-rated season since 2006-07.
The Penguins’ ratings drop was typical for a league that saw an overall 10 percent local drop. SportsBusiness Journal analyzed ratings data from 22 of the NHL’s 23 U.S.-based clubs; information on Carolina was not available. Overall, 13 of those 22 teams monitored posted ratings drops from last season; nine saw an increase.
The Vegas Golden Knights had a 1.87 rating on AT&T Rocky Mountain in the team’s inaugural season.
The NHL’s best local TV ratings news came in Nashville, riding the wave of the Predators’ run to the Stanley Cup Final last season. The Predators saw a 163 percent increase year-over-year, with a 2.1 rating on FS Tennessee. Tampa Bay Lightning games on FS Sun saw an increase of 19 percent, the team’s fourth straight year of a local TV ratings increase.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings both hit low-water marks for NBC Sports Chicago and FS Detroit. This season marked the Blackhawks’ lowest-rated season since 2008-09 when the team had a 1.06 rating. The Red Wings’ 1.51 rating on FS Detroit was the team’s lowest in at least 12 seasons and the fifth straight year the team has posted declining ratings.
Research director David Broughton contributed to this report.