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Winter Classic setsTV viewership mark too

The SportsXchange

The 2014 NHL Winter Classic not only set an attendance record but established a record for regular-season North American television viewership as well, the NHL announced Friday.

The game, in which the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout, was played at the University of Michigan before a crowd 105,491, the largest crowd ever to see a hockey game.

The combined average television viewership for the game on NBC in the U.S., and CBC and RDS in Canada was 8.234 million viewers in North America.

The previous regular-season record was 6.6 million average viewers for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, which aired in primetime on NBC, CBC and RDS due to a weather delay.

"We knew an NHL Winter Classic at the Big House with the Red Wings-Maple Leafs rivalry would be special, but what unfolded was extraordinary," said NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins. "The players, the fans - and the elements - made for a record-setting afternoon and our partners at NBC, CBC and RDS delivered great coverage and unforgettable images. The magnitude and success of the overall NHL Winter Classic experience in both Detroit and Ann Arbor also underscore the continued growth of the NHL as a North American business."

The 4.404 million viewers for NBC's broadcast in the U.S. was the second-largest audience for an NHL regular-season game in 39 years.

On average, 3.57 million viewers tuned into the CBC telecast, the largest audience ever for a non-playoff NHL game in Canadian broadcast history.
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