The CBC drew a modest 1.13 million viewers for Monday’s NHL Winter Classic that saw the New York Rangers defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2.
The league’s marque regular-season game, usually played on Jan. 1, was pushed back a day this year and had its start time delayed by two hours due to weather conditions.
Last year’s Winter Classic drew an audience of 1.9 million viewers on CBC, but the game between the Capitals and Penguins was moved to prime time because of bad weather in Pittsburgh.
By comparison, CBC combined to attract 2.38 million viewers for three simultaneous games played Dec. 17 between Vancouver and Toronto, New Jersey and Montreal, and Anaheim and Winnipeg.
A doubleheader that featured the Canucks visiting Ottawa and Detroit hosting the Jets drew a combined 1.59 million viewers on Dec. 10.
Game 7 of last season’s Stanley Cup final between Boston and Vancouver drew an average audience of 8.76 million and a peak of 11.2 million on CBC. The introduction of a new ratings measurement system in 2009 has seen sports TV ratings skyrocket.
One thing to note is that last year’s game was part of regional coverage on CBC as the game’s telecast was truncated. Toronto/Ottawa were shown in Ontario, while the telecast was cut short in Alberta to show Edmonton/Calgary.
A better comparison is to look at how the WC did the last few times it aired in the afternoon.
2008 Pittsburgh/Buffalo 1,170,000
2009 Chicago/Detroit 930,000
2010 Philadelphia/Boston 1,616,000
2012 Philadelphia/NY Rangers 1,130,000
Overall, not too bad. A slight decline but it still beats 2009. Of course, there was also some overlap with WJC coverage over on TSN. That might impact the numbers. These CBC ratings are pretty much on par with what many of the late games draw on Hockey Night in Canada.