Nearly 600,000 watch Pens' opener on TV
NEW YORK — Pittsburghers cannot get enough of their Penguins.
The NHL season opener at Philadelphia on Saturday was watched locally by about 582,000 people in around 232,800 homes — and the 19.4 regional Nielsen rating nearly set a record for a Penguins' regular-season broadcast, NBC Sports reported Sunday.
A rating point is equal to around 12,000 households.
Only the 2011 Winter Classic, played at Heinz Field between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, rated higher. That game, broadcast in prime time on New Year's Day, drew a 32 Nielsen rating.
The Penguins-Flyers game Saturday garnered a higher rating than Mario Lemieux's comeback on Dec. 27, 2000, which generated a 15.65 Nielsen rating for then FSN Pittsburgh.
Local fans have rallied behind the Penguins after the 119-day NHL lockout that ended Jan. 12.
An estimated 20,000 fans attended a free scrimmage last Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center. A Root Sports Pittsburgh broadcast of that scrimmage was viewed by about 200,100 people and registered a 6.67 Nielsen rating.
The Penguins will play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday at Consol Energy Center. It will mark the 255th consecutive sellout dating to Feb. 14, 2007.