Penguins again rock local-market TV ratingsPublished April 14, 2014
For the fifth consecutive time, the Pittsburgh Penguins led the way among NHL clubs for local-market TV ratings for the league’s regular season.
The ranking is based on an analysis of ratings information for clubs that make their Nielsen data available. The NHL’s regular season ended Sunday.
|The Sabres (below) posted impressive ratings, given their record, but will finish far behind powerful division champs Pittsburgh.
The Penguins have a pair of superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin who are proven drawing cards but they have continued to thrive despite their lineup being depleted by injuries and illness this season,
The second-place ratings finish by the Sabres, meanwhile, is a testament to the loyalty of the Buffalo fan base. The team finished last in the 30-team NHL this year, struggling from the outset of the season. Despite that poor play on the ice and some dysfunction in the front office — former hero Pat LaFontaine was named president of business operations early in the season but stepped down three months later — Sabres fans continued to tune in to MSG Network.
The Boston Bruins, like the Penguins a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, have been a good-news story in Boston. The Bruins posted the best record in the Eastern Conference, and their games on NESN had the league’s third-highest average rating, at 5.04.
One of the league’s best local stories is in Arizona, where Coyotes games saw an 85 percent ratings increase from 2011-12, the last complete, 82-game NHL season. (Teams last year played 48-game schedules after the lockout.) Under new ownership, the Coyotes have been competitive on the ice, and their 0.74 average rating was in the middle of the pack of U.S. teams monitored by SportsBusiness Journal.
NHL teams' RSN viewership
|TEAM||RSN||AVG. RATING (CHANGE*)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||Root Sports||7.57 (-4%)|
|Buffalo Sabres||MSG||5.56 (-13%)|
|Boston Bruins||NESN||5.04 (+7%)|
|Chicago Blackhawks||CSN Chicago||4.33 (+40%)|
|St. Louis Blues||FS Midwest||4.05 (+17%)|
|TEAM||RSN||CHANGE* (AVG. RATING)|
|Phoenix Coyotes||FS Arizona||+85% (0.74)|
|New York Islanders||MSG Plus||+71% (0.36)|
|Chicago Blackhawks||CSN Chicago||+40% (4.33)|
|Minnesota Wild||FS North||+35% (2.94)|
|New York Rangers||MSG||+32% (1.29)|
AVERAGE AUDIENCE SIZE
|TEAM (U.S. T.V. MARKET RANK)||RSN||AVG. NO. OF HHs (CHANGE*)|
|Chicago Blackhawks (3)||CSN Chicago||153,000 (+40%)|
|Boston Bruins (7)||NESN||123,000 (+7%)|
|New York Rangers (1)||MSG||96,000 (+32%)|
|Pittsburgh Penguins (23)||Root Sports||89,000 (-4%)|
|Detroit Red Wings (11)||FS Detroit||67,000 (+2%)|
* Change compared to marks posted through the complete 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 were not available.
Source: SportsBusiness Journal analysis of Nielsen data
The New Jersey Devils are at the bottom of the league’s measured local ratings. Despite a fight for a playoff berth into the final week of the regular season, Devils games on MSG Plus averaged a league-low 0.18 rating this season, down 45 percent from the 2011-12.
SportsBusiness Journal analyzed ratings data from 21 of the NHL’s 23 U.S.-based clubs; information on Carolina and Nashville was not available. Ratings information also was not available for the league’s seven Canadian teams.