directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Winter Classic indeed classic - draws 2.6 overnight rating on NBC

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winter Classic indeed classic - draws 2.6 overnight rating on NBC

Just saw this via KuklasKorner on Globe & Mail:

NBC exceeded audience expectations for its coverage of the Buffalo outdoor game on New Year's Day by earning a 2.4 overnight rating (percentage of the potential U.S. audience tuned in).

Sources said an American network has not produced an audience of that size for an NHL regular season game since the Fox Sports telecasts in the 1990s.

Last season, NBC's regular season NHL telecasts earned an average rating of 1.0.


The Penguins-Sabres game in snowy Buffalo — the first regular-season outdoor NHL game in the United States — drew a 2.6 overnight rating and a 5 share on NBC. Those were the best numbers since a six-game regional telecast on Fox drew a 3.0 overnight rating and a 7 share on Feb. 3, 1996.

The big numbers, in the stands and on TV, came three years after the NHL lockout forced the cancellation of an entire season and after last season's Stanley Cup finals on NBC drew record-low ratings.

"We're delighted by the success of this historic event," NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said. "The Winter Classic exposed hockey to a larger audience and definitely made new fans of the game."

The Winter Classic ratings also surpassed Wayne Gretzky's final game, which was broadcast on Fox on April 18, 1999, and drew a 2.5/6.

The Buffalo and Pittsburgh markets led the ratings, at 38.2/58 and 17.7/30, respectively. But markets such as Sacramento, Calif., St. Louis and Denver also drew strong ratings, even though the game went up against a number of college football bowl games, including an intriguing Capital One Bowl between Florida and Michigan.

Not sure how many of you tuned in to watch this game but it was truly a spectacle. Even though there were some challenges like the ice and the extended Zamboni stoppages I thought it was a great event.

Futhermore I show up at work this morning and the first thing my co-worker and boss (who seldom watches hockey and is huge into college football) says to me was "did you see that outdoor hockey game?. It was awesome!".

That my fellow fans, is exactly the kind of audience the NHL was going after and judging by these ratings, looks like they did a pretty good job of capturing. Especially when you consider all the sports programming they were up against on New Years Day.

Well done NHL, Pittsburg Penguins and the city and team of Buffalo!


1 comment:

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