The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the most-watched teams in America. While the previous sentence might sound like some form of nonsensical gloating you might hear from a sports fan, it's actually pretty accurate according to a recent article from Sports Business Daily.
The report states that prior to their final few games of 2013 the Penguins were on pace to post the highest regional ratings of any American MLB, NBA or NHL team since 2002. The Penguins were averaging an incredible 12.56 Nielsen rating in Pittsburgh on Root Sports, a number that's the highest of any United States NHL club on record.
Let's try to put this 12.56 rating in perspective, shall we?
Michael Jordan's final season in Chicago drew an average rating of 8.9 in the Windy City. The Boston Red Sox averaged a 12.20 during their 2007 World Series campaign. Dating back to 1997, only the 2002 Seattle Mariners and their average rating of a 13.2 would best Pittsburgh's local ratings. Pretty impressive company.
Incredibly, the Penguins were able to grow their ratings down the stretch while every other U.S. NHL club saw ratings hold steady or trail off. They also retained and acquired new viewers while their best player, Sidney Crosby, wasn't even playing due to injury.
We'll have to wait until all the numbers are in before we award Pittsburgh with a big "good job", but until then it's nice to see so many fans watching hockey in the Steel City.