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 interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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1 Response to NHL Winter Classic Television Ratings and Viewership Continue to Plunge, Reaches New All-Time Low

  1. Pingback: Winter Classic Ratings Rebound For Blackhawks-Bruins at Notre Dame | NoVa Caps

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