TV ratings spike for Cole's Pirates debut
Pirates prized pitcher Gerrit Cole not only produced a quality start in his debut Tuesday, but he also increased television ratings and ticket sales.
Root Sports general manager Shawn McClintock said Cole's first start drew a 10.06 Nielsen rating, which was the eighth-highest rating for a local-market telecast in Pirates history. McClintock said the rating equates to 315,000 viewers. It was the highest-rated Pirates' local-market telecast on record for a game played in the first half of a season. Records date to the mid-1990s.
McClintock said the game's television rating marked a 25 percent increase over average ratings for a telecast this season.
The Pirates' No. 1-rated prospect also generated ticket sales.
The Pirates drew a crowd of 30,614 on Tuesday for his debut, a significant spike in midweek ticket sales. The following night, the Pirates announced an attendance of 19,930.
A Groupon.com ticket special contributed to tickets sold Tuesday, but Cole's promotion played a significant role in the sales; 18,000 tickets had been sold prior to the announcement of his call-up Saturday. In three days after his call-up announcement, the Pirates sold 12,000 tickets.
The Pirates played three other Tuesday games at PNC Park this season, announcing an attendance of 12,973 vs. the Mariners on May 7; 11,556 vs. the Brewers on May 14; and 16,092 vs. the Cubs on May 21.
The interest in Cole's start — as judged by percentage of tickets sold at PNC Park— was greater than that of Stephen Strasburg's debut in 2010. Strasburg debuted on a Tuesday, and the Nationals sold 40,315 tickets. The Nationals sold 27,202 the following night. That's a 32.5 percent decline. The Pirates' attendance decline from Tuesday to Wednesday was 34.9 percent.
Cole makes his second start Sunday. The game is close to selling out.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Pirates say goodbye to veteran leaders Burnett, Ramirez
- A field day on social media as Pirates’ Rodriguez attacks Gatorade cooler
- Pirates notebook: Fastball command issues hurt Cole against Cubs
- Cubs’ Fowler, Schwarber deliver to sink Pirates
- Starkey: Pirates gaining bad big-game rep
- Rossi: Cole is simply not good enough for Pirates
- Pirates no match for Cubs, Arrieta in wild-card loss
- Despite hometown ties, Walker knows time with Pirates likely nearing end
- Pirates notebook: Tempers boil after Arrieta beaned