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2012 Winter Classic Ratings

from Puck The Media,

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.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: 2012+winter+classic


SYF's avatar

Heh.  That Wings/Leafs (or Habs) matchup at the Big House in 2013 is looking more and more feasible now.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 01/03/12 at 06:18 PM ET

Zaze's avatar

<rant> I recorded it, my DVR had it starting at 1:00pm EST (I scheduled about a week ago).  Apparently, my DVR’s channel guide had the wrong starting time.  I got 2 hours of pre-game it seemed before any live hockey started (and missed the whole second half of the game).  This isn’t really anyone’s fault (the NHL changed the starting time, I later found out) but my own, I should have kept up with the announcements about the starting time, but is the average joe sports guy who might be a little bit interested in hockey going to know about that change if I don’t?  (I consider myself to be a somewhat informed hockey fan).  I don’t think so!  If there’s a chance they are shifting start times around to coincide with peak network viewership goals, then maybe the game needs to be played somewhere that’s going to have a cooperative climate, where we won’t have to screw up peoples viewing plans for the game.  The Outback Bowl doesn’t change the start time 24 hours before the game starts, that’s another “meaningless” media hyped event, and it seemed to do great!

In hindsight, when I scheduled my hockey viewing,  I should have recorded my local 5 oclock news and the 4pm Ellen Degeneres Show… Because that makes perfect sense.

I wonder how much the time change played into the TV ratings?

Posted by Zaze on 01/03/12 at 06:21 PM ET


To be fair it’s probably your cable provider’s fault.  They should’ve updated the start time in their interactive guides, which probably would’ve updated your DVR.

If there’s a chance they are shifting start times around to coincide with peak network viewership goals,

My understanding is that it was changed because of the weather, not because of anything to do with ratings.

Posted by Garth on 01/03/12 at 06:25 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

My understanding is that it was changed because of the weather, not because of anything to do with ratings.

Posted by Garth on 01/03/12 at 03:25 PM ET

Yes. The NHL really wanted that game to start at 1EST specifically so it would only be competing with the Outback bowl.

Moving the start time back two hours gave a lot of casual fans the opportunity to get very invested in an interesting bowl game and simply forget to switch over.  It would have been better if they would have been able to go at the same time. I’m no expert on fan viewing patterns, but it seems to me that in my experiences, when I start off watching two events I don’t particularly care much for simultaneously, I usually go about 30-45 minutes before I pick the more interesting one and stick with that.

If you give one of them a two-hour head start on the other, I’m not likely to change the channel.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/03/12 at 06:32 PM ET

Zaze's avatar

Posted by some kid on 01/03/12 at 03:30 PM ET

If they change the time because of weather, and have ratings suffer, then complain about ratings, then it’s logical to suggest that maybe the game should be played somewhere that you would have less of a chance to change the starting time.  At least, it’s logical to me… Although I’m not sure where that location would be…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/03/12 at 03:32 PM ET

That was more or less what I was thinking

Posted by Zaze on 01/03/12 at 06:39 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

I think a big factor was the way New Year’s Day fell this year. Being on a Sunday and having most “observations” on the holiday fall on the 2nd changed a lot. For anyone that works in retail or a service industry, the actual day falling on a Sunday probably meant they had to work on Monday.

I had the day off, but it still caught me off guard. I expected to find the game on TV Sunday, and when it wasn’t on I though, that’s odd, why is it on the 2nd this year…

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/03/12 at 06:58 PM ET

Zaze's avatar

Posted by some kid on 01/03/12 at 03:53 PM ET

Right. I guess what I was trying to imply was, they shouldn’t be so surprised/disappointed (that’s the reactions I gathered from papers today) when the ratings underperform when you delay the game because of weather.

Posted by Zaze on 01/03/12 at 06:59 PM ET


Posted by Zaze on 01/03/12 at 03:59 PM ET

I don’t know how many people were surprised about the ratings.  Last year’s ratings were helped by the fact that there’s less going on in primetime on Jan 1st than during the day.

As for having the game be played somewhere with “less chance of changing the start time”, that’s what they try to do, which is why games aren’t being hosted by the Anaheim Ducks or the Tampa Bay Lightning.  There are plenty of places that should have the requisite climate to support an outdoor game.  When it was scheduled in Pittsburgh last year nobody expected that it would rain on Jan 1st, and when it was scheduled in Philly this year nobody expected that it would be sunny and windy.

The fact is the NHL made off like bandits at the gates and the souvenir shops and while viewing was down it will still likely be the most-watched game of the season, so it’s still an unqualified success.

Sure, you can compare it to Yankees games or college football or last year’s game between the NHL’s two biggest names and it might come up short, but overall there’s not going to be a lot of complaining, especially since they had to change the start time about 24 hours before it was supposed to be underway.

Posted by Garth on 01/03/12 at 07:09 PM ET

Zaze's avatar

Sorry, I guess I got distracted by your rant about the Ellen show!

Hahaha, nothing against Ellen, I’m sure she’s just wonderful.  I just missed the “best” part of the game because of Gary’s weatherman. :-(

Posted by Zaze on 01/03/12 at 07:18 PM ET

bobinnocal's avatar

In hindsight, when I scheduled my hockey viewing,  I should have recorded my local 5 oclock news and the 4pm Ellen Degeneres Show… Because that makes perfect sense.

I knew about the changed time.  On Dish (CI) they did not update the program schedule by Monday morning either.  I was able to DVR the game by adding scheduled programs after the program schedule time.  I could also DVR the Rose and Fiesta bowls.  I never watch any sporting event live.

Was it just me or did anyone else feel the rink seemed mighty small for the type of bruising game that was played.  I felt there could have been many roughing and interference penalties that were never called.  But then I’m spoiled.  I like the style the Wings play.  I don’t think it was the type of game the casual observer would enjoy.  I kept imagining the constant comments:  “Is that allowed?”  “Why isn’t that a penalty?”  “Are you kidding me?”

Posted by bobinnocal on 01/03/12 at 11:47 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

It was the sun that was the biggest factor and I guess the NHL doesn’t watch MLB playoffs, otherwise they would’ve seen how the sun came in to CBP in mid-day/low to the horizon angles. My biggest beef is they new it was going to be an issue 3 or 4 days before. When they moved the alumni game back, they should’ve made the decision then to move the WC back as well.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 01/03/12 at 11:53 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

My father in law is a hockey fan and wanted to come over new year’s day to watch the game. When I told him it was on Jan 2 this year, he had a great rant about Commissioner Runt and how Bettman would fail to get laid in a brothel.

That might have had something to do with the ratings. The New Year’s Day tradition, shifted 24+2 hours.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 01/04/12 at 04:47 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Several factors:

Bowl Games waited until Mon. when they normally would have gone on Sun. because of the the prospect of going against the NFL’s Week 17.  So the NHL would have either gone up against the NFL, or Bowl games.  There is no “win” scenario in that choice.

Also… in retrospect NYR vs Philly was a very unappealing matchup to most, not to mention a horrible, dreadful 1st period.

Consider this:  MSU and Georgia were playing in the Outback Bowl instead of a BCS bowl because neither school is considered as “moving the meter” very well and therefore both schools were somewhat “undesirables” for the big bowls.  Yet they drew a 5 for an exciting game, and the NHL is trying to spin a 2.4 positively for their marquee regular season game.

Time to just retire the gimmick already.  It might work better outside of New Year’s, but the NHL simply can’t compete with football, pro or college.

Posted by Primis on 01/04/12 at 10:18 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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