Rangers-Flyers Draw Lowest Overnight in Winter Classic History

There were obstacles against it, like a January 2nd date instead of New Year’s Day, and a two-hour time delay, but the NHL’s 2012 Winter Classic featuring the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers still drew the lowest overnight in the history of the event.

According to Sports Business Daily (reg. required), NBC drew a 2.4 overnight rating. While this is still more than double what any indoor hockey game would draw and very solid for any January 2nd NHL game, this is the lowest overnight rating for any of the first five, and down 15% from last year’s primetime edition of the game. The game faced heavy competition, including the Outback Bowl on ABC, which drew a 5.0, and the 9.0 overnight for the Rose Bowl on ESPN.

Winter Classic Overnights

2008, Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo, 1/1/08: 2.6
2009, Detroit vs. Chicago, 1/1/09: 2.9
2010, Philadelphia vs. Boston, 1/1/10: 2.6
2011, Washington vs. Pittsburgh, 1/1/11: 2.8
2012, NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia, 1/2/12: 2.4

UPDATED: The local numbers are in. The game drew an 11.9 overnight in Philadelphia, doubling what the first Winter Classic the Flyers participated in scored in the market. New York came up with a 4.3 rating. This was by far the highest rated game in New York in a long time (including playoffs, if I’m not mistaken) but still about the equivalent to a mid-season Yankees game. It was also well below the number the Knicks drew on TNT for their Christmas Day showdown with the Celtics, which scored a 7.2, though it was against literally no competition.


About Steve Lepore
Contact me at stevemlepore@gmail.com

22 Responses to Rangers-Flyers Draw Lowest Overnight in Winter Classic History

  1. Eddie says:

    Let’s see what the viewership was. That will be the big factor. Also, not too bad especially with it being up against that kind of competition.

  2. J says:

    This is really disappointing. Wish the NHL could do better then this. Losing to a bowl game that doesn’t mean anything (Outback Bowl). Pretty Sad

  3. kevin says:

    It is what it is……2.5-3.0 is basically what its gonna get…….avoiding the Rose Bowl is key to a higher rating obviously

  4. Christian T says:

    IF the bowl games were down to then I think it would be easy to say that the date might have hurt. If not then I’m guess the time change or the match up were what hurt

  5. Eddie says:

    I predicted 5 mill. Just because of New York. The household rating will always be smaller say than a Buffalo, but you can still get more viewership. If it get’s 5 mill I’ll take it. Small steps.

  6. Sean says:

    Told ya…

  7. J-Mill says:

    NYC has never had strong Winter Classic ratings, although you’d expect more when they’re involved. The first 4 years, I’m pretty sure NYC has never even been in the top 10 (maybe even top 15) non-involved markets as far as Winter Classic ratings. Hopefully this will help encourage the league to spread the game around a bit, perhaps to Colorado, Minnesota or St. Louis. Although I’d be ok with Detroit next year.

  8. rtroth2946 says:

    There was way too much competition on TV, and the fact that it was Jan 2nd cannot be over estimated. Sad…but there was no way the NHL was competing with the NFL on Jan 1.

  9. Bill says:

    Nielsen screws the NHL once again

  10. Sean says:

    Uh, Jan. 2 has no bearing on the rating. It’s the fact it went against the Rose Bowl. Mind-numbingly bad decision by the NHL.

    The Winter Classic gets its rating from casual fans…and they’re going to pick the Rose Bowl over hockey 100 times out of 100.

    It worked last year at 8pm because the night college game (Fiesta Bowl and a BAD Fiesta Bowl at that) doesn’t hold the same sway that the Rose Bowl does.

    Especially since the Rose Bowl basically wipes out any chance the NHL has at getting people in the Midwest to watch. Think anyone in Wisconsin was watching Flyers/Rangers?

    Awful move by the NHL. The game needs to be at 1pm or 8pm. Going against the Rose Bowl is foolish.

    • paranoidpuck says:

      Jan. 2 had no bearing? Really? Whats college football’s excuse? You’re vaunted Rose bowl saw its ratings slide by double digits.

      I agree with you that going up against the Rose Bowl isn’t ideal, but as I noted on my blog, the Outback Bowl featured Michigan St. That’s a key market that was probably lost a little too. For that matter, Penn St. was in a rather meaningless bowl game on Monday too.

      The Winter Classic is going to go up against College football as long as they have it New Year’s Day. The whole point of it was for counter programming purposes. Seems to me its doing pretty well. How many other hockey games are getting over a 2.0 in the States? I’m the first one to criticize the NHL’s low ratings but these are strong numbers for the league, any way you slice it up.

  11. e says:

    I really think that the NHL should consider moving the Winter Classic to February after the Super Bowl.The competition with college football is to fierce on New Years. February is such a dead period in sports, that I think the ratings would be much better on a Sunday in February going up against college basketball or even pro basketball. If you put this game on next month Sunday, February 12 at 3:30 et, you would probably get a 3 rating or higher.

  12. Mike says:

    I know a ton of people that either had to work, or would not have had off without taking a vacation day. Corporate America doesn’t respect federal holidays anymore

  13. Stu Dolgon says:

    Great job on XM’s NHL Home Ice earlier this afternoon Steve.

  14. Seems like Mr Lepore is too much in the business of selling Cablevision or Comcast hockey to tell the truth that the ratings stunk and these are low profile teams. Baseball City USA in New York is not interested in hockey and where did that NY rating come from because if it was from Dolan’s media department it cannot be trusted.

    Yankee Stadium 2014
    New York Islanders vs Montreal Canadians
    Dynasties Only.

  15. Where was Mr Lepore to note the last time Ed Snider’s Comcast Flyers were in an outdoor game it was only the third highest event in that time period for the Philadelphia market.

  16. Sean says:

    WC will continue to die….don’t admit it…but it will eventually be moved to cable and off network tv. Make all the exec uses you want,,,ur not facing reality I called it in my ealrier comment on it 2 days go. It would be and did be the worst WC ever. It was. Mr Lepore call it anyway you want it…bounce back or whatever other fantasy you have…it will be continue to drop. NBC is not happy

    • habsfan9873 says:

      Your stupid for making these comments. It only dropped .2-.4 points lol…

      Plus Nielsen is shit and not accurate and is a guessing game..

      • Sean says:

        Don’t see other leagues complaining about the system or the advertisers who pay for the highly sought pricey time for NBA MLB NFL reg season games.

  17. dyhrdmet says:

    it was a great game, but if it couldn’t rate well with the NY Rangers playing, then maybe NBC should try to celebrate hockey and get some other teams some exposure (both in this event and in their other national telecasts). Yes, the College Bowl games against it were a factor, but there’s always been College Bowl games against the Winter Classic. Maybe NBC should move this to be part of hockey day in America, as a late evening end to the day.

  18. Eddie says:

    The common denomenator here is all sports events suffered a drop back from holding their games on the 2nd and not the 1st. It does matter. More people probably worked that day. All in all the rating isn’t bad. Was I a little disappointed? Yes with New York a little, but next year you’ll have Detroit vs Colorado or St.Louis. It’ll do better or equal. It is still a great spectacle, for fans, players and sponsors. It still help the game to grow and shine.

  19. Sean says:

    Bowl games drew well even to those against each other. Their ratings were strong as last year and in some games more impressive.

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