It was reported last week that the Pittsburgh Penguins recorded a higher average local rating than any other US Based NHL or NBA team. Did I mention the NBA also. It’s a staggering number of 8.03 average household rating. I waited a couple of days before I wrote about this because I wanted to hear how some of the local media outlets reported it and also to see if any national observers wanted to weigh in. To be honest, not much was said nationally but locally it has been a hot topic.
It’s a number that Pittsburgher’s and the NHL should be proud of. It is no secret that the Pens do a great job promoting their sport. From the Delivery of Pizza to the Student Rush, to having the Penguins players deliver season tickets. This management group and the players have bought into everything and because of that, every game is sold out and the people tune in to watch.
The thing that was most amazing about this was the fact that the rating ranked higher than the Lakers in LA, and the Red Wings in “Hockey Town”. These are 2 large communities/cities that follow these individual teams religiously. The Mayor of Pittsburgh wanted to wager the line tag line of “Hockey Town”years back when the 2 teams battled it out in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Mayor of Detroit would not go for it. What a surprise. That said, maybe Pittsburgh is the real Hockey Town?
You could certainly make that claim, as the numbers of young kids playing locally is blossoming and the ice rinks around the area are packed all hours of day and night regardless of the time of year. And this is in an area that has been owned by Football for years and years. Although, Hockey is surging, Football is still the most popular sport locally. But what the Penguins have done is they have figured out a way to reach the younger generation.
The teens, the twenty somethings and those in their 30’s. This is a demographic that has not been captured by even Baseball in any US city. And the price to go to a Football game is so high, most young people can not even go to an NFL game.
This is a model that needs to be repeated in a great many sports. But for now, In Pittsburgh, we are proud to be the REAL “Hockey Town” even if we can not put up signs and banners that say that. Here in Pittsburgh….It’s a Given.