Winter Classic delivers record rating for NBC, ties 2009 game

Sean Leahy
January 2, 2014

The 2014 Winter Classic was the first time a Canadian team was involved, but that didn't cause NBC's ratings to take a hit. According to The Nielsen Company, the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings outdoor game at Michigan Stadium drew a 2.9 overnight rating, tying it with the 2009 game between the Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field.

From NBC:

Yesterday’s overnight is up 21 percent from the 2012 iteration of the game, played between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Due to last season’s work stoppage, the 2012 Winter Classic was the last Winter Classic played and generated a 2.4 overnight.

Via NBC, here are the top 10 rated markets:

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

Between having two history-rich hockey organizations involved and playing the game at a snowy venue with over 100,000 people in the stands, there were plenty of reasons for hardcore, casual and even non-hockey fans to tune in, and it shows in NBC's ratings.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!