Despite a rain hit day delaying the start of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Winter Classic on January 1, TV ratings had increased from the previous year. Some feared a 7 hour delay in the event from 13.00 – 20.00 local time would have a negative effect on the viewing figures though the event pulled in a 2.3 rating and 4 per cent share for NBC.
The game which saw the Washington Capitals’ 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins had a 10 per cent increase in the ratings from last year’s game when Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers.
NBC has stated that the 2011 edition of the Winter Classic was the most-watched regular-season NHL game since 1975 with over 68,000 in attendance of the event.
Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner stated that he did not feel the rain had spoiled the event, “This is reality hockey when you take it outdoors. It becomes a little unpredictable. All in all it was a good event and we were very pleased with what we saw.”
He added: “I also want to make a point of thanking all of our partners on the business side, particularly our broadcast partner at NBC for showing the flexibility that was necessary to deal with the weather issues that we confronted.”