Crosby return to Pens draws big local rating
A huge local television audience watched Sidney Crosby's triumphant return to the Penguins on Monday night.
The game averaged an astronomical overnight Nielsen rating of 15.36 on the Root Sports Pittsburgh cable network. It was the second-highest local rating for a regular-season game in team history, topped only by Mario Lemieux's comeback Dec. 27, 2000, which drew a 15.9 rating.
Ratings represent the percentage of TV households tuned to a particular program. There are about 1,160,820 TV households in the Pittsburgh market. An estimated 94.2 percent have cable or satellite.
The Penguins perennially lead all U.S.-based NHL teams in local ratings, and last year the club drew an 8.68. This game nearly doubled that. About 440,000 viewers tuned in as Crosby, idled for nearly a year because of effects from a concussion, had two goals and two assists in a 5-0 win over the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.
Unlike Lemieux's return from retirement, Crosby's first game since Jan. 5 happened on short notice. But it still drew considerable interest.
"We knew (Lemieux) was coming back a few weeks out," Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan said. "This one was literally 28 hours."
Word didn't quite spread as quickly elsewhere, however. Versus, which aired the game nationally except in Pittsburgh and New York, drew just 198,000 viewers and a 0.2 rating.
CBC aired its telecast throughout Canada. Its ratings were not available. McMillan said neither Versus nor CBC had planned to air the game until news of Crosby's return broke Sunday afternoon.
"They rerouted crews to Pittsburgh," he said.
ESPN reported from the game, along with Canadian networks Rogers Sportsnet, TSN, RDS and CTV.
"Probably if you were a sports network, you were there," ESPN analyst Barry Melrose said. "If your name was a bunch of letters, you were there."
ESPN rarely dispatches crews to regular-season games. Melrose, who lives in Florida, said he got his orders at 5:30 p.m. Sunday and used the network's "emergency travel" service to hastily book a flight from Tampa. He said he arrived in Pittsburgh at about 1 a.m. Monday and was on the air nine hours later.
Part of the ESPN crew drove from State College, where they have been holed up for weeks covering the Penn State scandal.
"They were so happy to do a sporting event," Melrose said.
Sidney Crosby Returns November 21, 2011
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scores twice in his return against the New York Islanders, Monday, November 21, 2011 at Consol Energy Center.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- W.V. entrepreneurs offer hope as coal fades as economic engine
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Slain St. Clair officer walked into ‘worst nightmare’ for police
- Ex-recreation director settles age discrimination lawsuit against Pittsburgh
- Mentor takes young Brackenridge hunter under his wing
- 7 percent in Allegheny County allowed to carry concealed gun
- Field conditions could play factor for Clairton in PIAA quarterfinals
- 2,200 union employees of ATI lose coverage
- Penguins’ reshuffled top line of Crosby, Dupuis, Kunitz looks familiar
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates