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Hockey Pulls Big New Year’s Numbers

January 6, 2008 9:00 PM

After scoring the best regular-season rating in more than a decade for National Hockey League programming with the AMP Energy/NHL Winter Classic, hockey executives already are mulling another round for next year. The outdoor game, which was broadcast New Year’s Day on NBC domestically, earned a 2.6/5 overnight Nielsen rating and drew an NHL-record crowd of 71,217 to Ralph Wilson Stadium to see the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Buffalo Sabres. Hockey towns in particular drew big local audiences, led by the two teams’ home towns: a 38.2 rating/58 share in Buffalo and a 17.7/30 in Pittsburgh. “The best regular-season rating in more than a decade is a result of the tremendous efforts of the NHL, and we’re delighted by the success of this historic event,” said NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer. “Sam Flood, his production team and our broadcasters also deserve credit for conveying the great atmosphere in Buffalo and producing a memorable broadcast. The Winter Classic exposed hockey to a larger audience and definitely made new fans of the game.”

—Chris Pursell

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