Winter Classic Ratings: A Prediction From Your Blogger
December 28, 2009 7 Comments
Previous Winter Classic Ratings figures:
2008 (PIT vs. BUF): 2.6 overnight rating, 2.2 final rating, 3.7 million viewers
2009 (DET vs. CHI): 2.9 overnight rating, 2.5/5 final rating, 4.4 million viewers
I’ve discussed this with some fellow bloggers lately. There’s an issue pertaining to this year’s Winter Classic at Fenway that hasn’t been a factor the last couple of seasons. It’s a daunting question for the NHL, it’s fans and casual sports fans: Do you care if a bad team is in the Winter Classic?
I’m sure the NHL will point out that the Flyers are only 2 points out of a playoff spot, and this is true, the Flyers could be a very good team at some point this year. The point is, at the time the Winter Classic will be played at Fenway, they will not be a very good team. Flyers fans will likely agree with me.
So will it matter? Maybe, maybe not. Often horrendous, 6-6 teams are in college football’s meaningless bowl games, and it rarely ever drops the ratings. Usually, the local markets will tune in if they can be convinced it’s a significant event. With Philly as the road market, you’d have to wager that a lot of the city’s fairly rabid hockey community will be interested in the event, maybe moreso than either Detroit or Chicago was in 2009. Remember, in Detroit, the Winter Classic got thoroughly beaten by Michigan State football.
Nationally, is the interest for the Winter Classic going to improve? Possibly. ESPN is covering the event, VERSUS is doing a better job to keep it in people’s minds, and Mike Milbury appeared on Sunday Night Football last night. Advertising on NBC has sold out, and merchandise is flying off the shelves. So, we go back and forth on this, but our opinion is that Winter Classic ratings will just barely push up. We’re calling 3.0 overnight rating, 2.6 final rating, and 4.6 million viewers. That’s our fairly conservative call. Looking forward to following the numbers.