NHL Winter Classic Television Ratings and Viewership Continue to Plunge, Reaches New All-Time Low


Graphic: NHL

This year’s NHL Winter Classic ranked as the lowest rated and least-watched Winter Classic ever (10 telecasts). Ratings and viewership have declined to all-time lows for the past four straight games.

According to Sports Media Watch, this year’s Sabres-Rangers Winter Classic earned a 1.4 rating and 2.48 million viewers on NBC. The numbers mark a slight decrease in ratings and a 3% drop in viewership from last year (Blackhawks-Blues: 1.5, 2.56M). This years numbers are down 13% and 11% respectively from 2016 (Canadiens-Bruins: 1.6, 2.8M).

In addition, this year’s numbers include streaming viewers (not typically included in past Winter Classic numbers) and are compared to previous years’ TV-only viewership.


Graphic: Sports Media Watch

Local Numbers
Buffalo led all markets with a 12.2 rating, down 68% from the inaugural Winter Classic ten years ago, which also involved the Sabres (38.1). New York City turned in a 3.2 rating, down 26% from the Rangers’ previous appearance in the game six years ago (4.3).

As we noted in last years piece on Winter Classic television ratings, while national viewership and television ratings continue to drop, it’s fairly evident that there is still a great deal of local appeal that needs to be considered. However, the continued use of “marquee” teams is starting to lose its punch from a from a national perspective, and as a result, the national audience is losing interest.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s