01/06/2009 1:31 PM - From chicagoblackhawks.com (link)
NBC's broadcast of NHL Winter Classic 2009 between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings attracted the best overnight ratings for a regular-season National Hockey League game on NBC in nearly 13 years. In Chicago, the Winter Classic scored the highest rating of any program during the day, including the Rose Bowl.
The NBC 5 broadcast of the Winter Classic in Chicago did an 11.8 rating in Nielsen households. Nationally, the network broadcast earned a 2.9 overnight rating, a 12 percent increase over last year's Winter Classic broadcast.
"The Winter Classic at Wrigley Field became a must-see event for Chicagoans, local and afar." said Larry Wert, President of NBC Local Media Central and Western Region. Everyone wanted to see and be part of this historic event and they did so by making it the highest-rated regular-season hockey game since 1996."
"It was a day that Blackhawks fans will never forget," added Blackhawks President John McDonough.
In addition to the Winter Classic, NBC will carry NHL games on Sunday afternoons again this season, along with some playoff games. The Classic is quickly becoming one of the league's marquis events.
"Year one was an extraordinary experience," NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said. "Year two was the establishment of what promises to be a great tradition."