Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Almost Too Good to Be True, Winter Classic TV Ratings Don't Disappoint

As we all have now woken up from the post-holiday stupor that is New Year's, there still may be a whole bunch of people pinching themselves this afternoon, thinking that they are still dreaming. I'm talking, of course, about Gary Bettman and the other folks at NHL Headquarters. As I'm sure you've heard, most everyone thinks that yesterday's Winter Classic was a resounding success. Not quite as good as, say, the Empire Strikes Back but still better than Return of the Jedi. But I digress.

If you thought things could not get any better for the folks at NHL HQ, well, you were dead wrong. The Globe and Mail has delivered some interesting news, which may leave folks around the league pinching themselves. Apparently, the TV ratings for yesterday's Winter Classic were the highest for a nationally televised regular season hockey game in the United States since at least the turn of the millennium. And of course, remember that the Stanley Cup Finals last June received just under a 1.0 rating.

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.

Personally, I'm still waiting to see how the NHL is going to screw this up. After so much success, it's almost natural that something should go wrong. But I'm not holding my breath. I'll stick to my snide remarks and Star Wars references, thank you very much.


  1. I'm still a bit surprised that NBC didn't cut off the game early to get to The Music of Seal On Ice.

  2. In order to avoid that Wuf, next year the NHL plans to broadcast the game on the CW with the broadcast team consisting of the "brothers" from Supernatural.

  3. How will the NHL screw it up?

    Next year's game will be in Miami, or Tampa Bay, or Phoenix.