As expected, the Winter Classic on NBC saw a drop in viewership. From John Ourand of SportsBusiness Daily –
SBD: NBC’s Winter Classic overnight is a 2.4, down from last year’s 2.8 (in primetime on New Year’s Day) and ’10’s 2.6 on New Year’s Day.
One more Winter Classic ratings tidbit: the game pulled an 11.9 overnight in Philly; and a 4.3 overnight in New York
To add to these numbers, the inaugural game had a 2.6, while the ’09 edition had a 2.9. Why are these numbers not a surprise?
- The time change helped confuse viewers. I’m sure the diehards showed up but some casual viewers might’ve gone elsewhere and never came back.
- The game aired on a Monday afternoon. While many people had the day off, just as many were at work unlike on an actual holiday. That was reflected in college football’s ratings as well.
- This game didn’t air in primetime. That certainly boosted the numbers last year even though there were plenty of NHL games airing against it regionally.
- There was some stiff competition including a college football overtime thriller on ABC. That game featured Michigan State, which meant that a key NHL market was likely going back and forth between events.
- This game lacked buzz. I just didn’t feel the buzz as I did prior games. It wouldn’t surprise me if others felt the same way. Yes, I was interested, but it just didn’t captivate me, especially after the Sid/Ovie hype of last year or the Original 6 battle in 2009. Perhaps it was the rather boring venue as Fenway Park, Wrigley bring cache, Citizens Bank Park doesn’t.
While the NHL has to be a little disappointed in these numbers, these are still very good ratings for any hockey game. Looking at the bigger picture, that’s a positive. Here’s the total viewership via Darren Rovell –
3.74 million watch 2012 Winter Classic, up 2% vs last afternoon game (2010). Is the 5th most watched regular season NHL game since ’75