NBC's Coverage of 2014 NHL Winter Classic Ties for Best Rating for Regular-Season Game
The 2014 NHL Winter Classic on NBC, in which the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout on New Year's Day, tied as the highest-rated NHL regular-season game in nearly four decades, became the second-most watched such game in 39 years, and is up nearly 20% in both household rating and viewership as compared to the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. The game, which featured only one U.S. team, delivered a 2.5 HH rating and averaged 4.404 million viewers, according to Fast National data from The Nielsen Company.
The 2.5 rating (1:00-4:53 p.m. ET) ties the 2009 NHL Winter Classic, which was played at Chicago's Wrigley Field between the then-defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings and host Chicago Blackhawks, as the highest-rated NHL regular-season game since 1975. The game averaged 4.404 million viewers, ranking as the second-most watched NHL regular-season game in 39 years, behind only the 2011 NHL Winter Classic, which was played in Primetime due to a weather delay from Pittsburgh's Heinz Field between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The rating and viewership for Wednesday's iteration of the New Year's Day tradition were up 19% and 18%, respectively, compared to the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, which was played between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Due to last season's work stoppage, the 2012 NHL Winter Classic was the last NHL Winter Classic played and generated a 2.1 HH rating and 3.733 million viewers.
"Today is yet another milestone in the NHL Winter Classic's short, but illustrious history. It's a thrill every year when the viewership for this event continues to validate the vision both NBC Sports and the NHL had when we created it," said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports, and one of the co-creators of the event. "We could not be more complimentary of the NHL's first-class efforts in hosting the game, and we could not be more proud of our production team, which presented an unparalleled broadcast that captured the spirit of the event."
Wednesday's game, which featured the first Canadian team to ever compete in a NHL Winter Classic, was played outdoors at Michigan Stadium, a.k.a., "The Big House," in front of 105,491 fans, making it the largest crowd ever to watch a hockey game. The Maple Leafs' Tyler Bozak scored the decisive goal during a shootout after the teams were tied 2-2 through regulation and overtime. Snow fell for most of the game, which began with a temperature of 13 degrees.
Following are the HH ratings for the six NHL Winter Classics:
Overnight Date Network Game Venue
1. 2.5 Jan. 1, 2014 NBC Maple Leafs-Red Wings Michigan Stadium
1. 2.5 Jan. 1, 2009 NBC Red Wings-Blackhawks Wrigley Field
3. 2.3 Jan. 1, 2011 NBC Capitals-Penguins Heinz Field
4. 2.2 Jan. 1, 2008 NBC Penguins-Sabres Ralph Wilson Stadium
5. 2.1 Jan. 2, 2012 NBC Rangers-Flyers Citizens Bank Park
5. 2.1 Jan. 1, 2010 NBC Flyers-Bruins Fenway Park
The NHL Winter Classic, which NBC Sports co-created along with the NHL, debuted in 2008 and has produced the six most-watched NHL regular-season games (excluding regional coverage) in the past 39 years (average viewers).
Viewership Date Network Game Venue
1. 4.525 million Jan. 1, 2011 NBC Capitals-Penguins Heinz Field
2. 4.404 million Jan. 1, 2014 NBC Maple Leafs-Red Wings Michigan Stadium
3. 4.401 million Jan. 1, 2009 NBC Red Wings-Blackhawks Wrigley Field
4. 3.751 million Jan. 1, 2008 NBC Penguins-Sabres Ralph Wilson Stadium
5. 3.733 million Jan. 2, 2012 NBC Rangers-Flyers Citizens Bank Park
6. 3.684 million Jan. 1, 2010 NBC Flyers-Bruins Fenway Park
The broadcast started strong, registering a game-high 3.0 HH rating and 5.228 million viewers for the 1-1:30 p.m. ET half hour, which was followed closely by 1:30-2 p.m. ET (2.8 HH rating and 5.098 million) and 4:30-5 p.m. ET (2.8 HH rating and 5.016 million) half hours, the latter of which included the game's climactic conclusion.
Detroit, known as "Hockey Town USA," lived up to its moniker and led all markets with an 18.0 rating, the best-ever for that market for a regular-season NHL game on NBC. It was followed by Buffalo (7.2), Pittsburgh (7.0), St. Louis (4.4) and Chicago (4.3). Chicago and Pittsburgh set ratings records in their respective markets for an NHL regular-season game that did not include their home-town teams.
Following are the top 10 markets for the 2014 NHL Winter Classic:
1. Detroit 18.0
2. Buffalo 7.2
3. Pittsburgh 7.0
4. St Louis 4.4
5. Chicago 4.3
6. Boston 4.2
7. Minneapolis 4.0
8. Philadelphia 3.9
9. Providence 3.8
10. Washington, D.C. 3.6
NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA
In addition to the broadcast coverage of the 2014 NHL Winter Classic on NBC, the game was live streamed online via NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group's live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.
NBC Sports Live Extra's presentation of the 2014 NHL Winter Classic ranks as the best ever regular-season stream (excluding regional coverage) in all key metrics, including the most consumed stream of an NHL Winter Classic. The game delivered 52,000 uniques (up 51% vs. the 2012 NHL Winter Classic), 57,000 visits (up 76%), 126,000 live starts (up 49%), and 2.3 million minutes watched (up 71%).
Source - Adobe Reports & Analytics