It’s widely acknowledged that Pittsburgh is a rabid football town that has rapidly developed an insatiable taste for hockey, but now we have the numbers to prove it.
According to Nielsen‘s team of researchers, Pittsburgh Penguins fans ranked as the most-engaged among American NHL followers, as 54 percent of the market has watched/listened to game broadcasts and/or has attended games in person over the past 12 months. Buffalo comes in second at 48 percent, with Detroit (45 percent), Boston (41 percent) and St. Louis (33 percent) rounding out the top five.
In case you’re wondering, and I know you are, the Steelers’ faithful take third on Nielsen’s NFL rankings, although that placement comes with a caveat. While Green Bay (88 percent) and New Orleans (81 percent) outpace Pittsburgh’s 78 percent market engagement, Packers and Saints fans don’t have many other choices for sports entertainment.
Green Bay is the smallest market in North American major pro sports and the Saints have only one other comparable team in New Orleans, the NBA’s Pelicans. Meanwhile, the Steelers have to battle the Penguins and the Pirates for attention, and sometimes both at once – as it was this past October with all three ‘Burgh teams in action.
Looking further down the NFL list, Baltimore and Kansas City chime in at 70 and 69 percent, respectively. Those cities have but one other major-league franchise to compete against, both of which belong to MLB.
Pittsburgh comes out looking good by Nielsen’s statistics, although a few other cities also get mentioned twice in the report, which was partially republished on Deadspin.
Boston shows up in the top five for hockey and baseball, as the Red Sox get 66 percent of local eyeballs; St. Louis’ well-documented love for the Cardinals is tops in MLB at 76 percent, augmenting its Blues passion; and Detroit represents for Tigers baseball (68 percent) as well as Red Wings hockey.
The Pirates still have some work to do when it comes to attracting attention, but Nielsen confirms that the City of Champions has few peers in terms of all-around sports obsession.