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Viewers Warm to NHL’s Winter Classic on NBC

Jan 2, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With bowl games in full force on other networks, NBC’s counterprogramming for the sports fan, the NHL Winter Classic, delivered the league’s best regular-season rating in more than a decade.
The event scored a 2.6 overnight rating and a 5 share on New Year’s Day, as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in the first U.S. outdoor game in NHL history.
“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 Ken Schanzer, President of NBC Sports. “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.”
Among the top 10 metered markets were a few surprises, including Las Vegas.
Top 10 Metered Markets:
1. Buffalo, N.Y., 38.2/58
2. Pittsburgh 17.7/30
3. Minneapolis 5.1/11
4. Denver 3.7/7
5 (tie). Providence, R.I., 3.5/7
5 (tie). Las Vegas 3.5/6
7. St. Louis 3.3/5
8. Boston 3.2/6
9. Sacramento 2.9/6
10 (tie). Richmond, Va., 2.8/5
10 (tie). Hartford, Conn., 2.8/5

45 Comments

  1. You’ll note that Indianapolis was not on the list of top 10 metered markets. Would you like to know why? WTHR, the NBC affiliate in Indy, decided instead to show the talk block of Montel, Dr. Phil, and Oprah; while pushing the Winter Classic down to its “Skytrak Network”, found only on cable and digital OTA and not available on DirecTV or Dish Network. WTHR deserves to bear a lot of heat over this decision.

  2. I have been involved with NHL TV productions for more than 27 years, having grown up with Hockey Night in Canada.
    NBC, Doc, Panger, Eddie, Mike and host Bob Costas, not to mention NBC’s awesome production crew, all deserve an Emmy for their great work on this historic event.
    I’m thrilled to hear that the NHL got it’s highest (US) ratings in more than a decade, having scored a 2.6 overnight and a 5 share.
    Now hopefully ESPN, SportCenter, and every cities local news will get back to airing hockey hilites during their 3 minute sportcasts and help show the rest of America how great this sport is.

  3. A great event for sure. I bet Buffalo’s 38 rating goes up above 40 when Live plus is added in. Unfortunately I doubt any broadcast could capture the atmosphere that was in the stadium that day. Having said that, WTHR may not have been far off in their call not to air the game. I was in an Indianapolis bar for the deciding game of the Cup finals last year. Had to plead with the bartender to change the channel to the game and was the only one watching. Indy just doesn’t care about the greatest game on the planet. And ESPN? Come on, 8 of top 10 plays are dunks. Really?

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