Blog Entry

Flyers-Rangers give Winter Classic worst ratings

Posted on: January 3, 2012 2:33 pm

By Brian Stubits

The 2012 edition of the Winter Classic might have arguably been the best game, but it was the worst in another category: ratings.

The overnight rating for the game Monday between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers drew a 2.4 on NBC, down from last year's 2.8 and below the high in 2009 of 2.9 in the game between the Red Wings and Blackhawks at Wrigley Field.

Looking at the overnight ratings (from Sports Business Journal) in the two participating cities -- Philadelphia and New York -- Philly had a very solid 11.9 while New York produced just a 4.3. Steve Lepore of Puck the Media points out that's well below what the Knicks drew for their Christmas game against the Celtics, a 7.2.

Time for the question that everybody is thinking ... is this a sign that the novelty is wearing off? Too soon to tell, honestly. This game had some differences from years past, the primary one is the fact that it was played on Jan. 2 instead of New Year's Day. Blame the NFL for that one.

Another factor that some are citing is the fact that the start of the game was delayed two hours, beginning at 3 ET instead of 1 p.m. I don't buy that as a good explanation. Last year's game between the Penguins and Capitals was pushed back until 7 p.m. ET and it drew a 2.8. A later start presumably means that you have a chance for more viewers on the West Coast, no? But to be fair, 3 p.m. isn't prime time like last year was.

But to keep things in perspective, it wasn't a massive drop. A 2.4 rating is still going to beat any other hockey broadcast during the regular season. In that sense it's still a very good number of viewers. But as an NHL fan, I'm greedy. I want to see these numbers continue to climb. At the very least, I hope that it causes the rest of the national broadcasts to see jumps in their numbers in the windfall of a very good Winter Classic.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:23 pm

Flyers-Rangers give Winter Classic worst ratings

There was another factor involved as well.  There were two bowl games being played at the same time and two that were just ending all watched by folks who might have watched a hockey game had that been the primary sports event in the time slot.  Regardless, it was a great game.. 

Since: Apr 5, 2010
Posted on: January 3, 2012 7:49 pm

Flyers-Rangers give Winter Classic worst ratings

i wouldnt watch the islanders if they played in my back yard 

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2012 7:32 pm

Flyers-Rangers give Winter Classic worst ratings

Yea, a Monday day game with a fair amount of people back at work definatly isnt gonna stack up to a game on Christmas Day with everyone off and nothing else on... Not really a fair, id like to see that Knicks-Celtics ratings in the same time slot the Winter Classic got.

Since: Nov 3, 2010
Posted on: January 3, 2012 6:31 pm

Flyers-Rangers give Winter Classic worst ratings

The game shouldn't be played on a Monday if the NHL wants ratings. Not everyone had the day off. I agree you cannot even try and compete with the NFL on Sunday, but maybe they should have had the game on Saturday instead of Monday. I didn't see that much compelling TV on Saturday that they would have needed to worry about. BTW, I do think the novelty has worn off. The first few years I was very interested, only mildly interested in it the last two years. Maybe a regular prime time game should be thought about. It would certainly make for better ice conditions than during the day.

Since: Aug 14, 2011
Posted on: January 3, 2012 6:02 pm

Flyers-Rangers gives Winter Classic worst ratings

Yes, tens upon tens of people would love to watch the Islanders play the Winter Classic. That's ratings gold!

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2012 5:48 pm

Flyers-Rangers gives Winter Classic worst ratings

 What day did you want the game?  On Sunday against the NFL?  They would have been slaughtered in the ratings..  You were miffed the game was on Monday, to not compete with College Football,  there were 4 bowl games going on at the time..  Islanders Rangers would draw a 1.0 nationally..  I rather watch 24 hours of storage wars reruns than see that crappy matchup..  Detroit Boston, Toronto Montreal, Chicago Washington, give me a combo of any of these.

Since: Feb 21, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2012 5:07 pm

Flyers-Rangers gives Winter Classic worst ratings

How about the idea that the game was on a Monday and not everyone had the day off to watch the game. The NHL should be more concerned about when the game does a 2.9 on a Saturday or a Sunday. This game was at 3pm on a Monday, who is usually home at these times, especially those who are home would be thinking to watch a hockey game. 

I was miffed that the game was on Monday, but I understand not wanting to compete with college football. The NHL has done a much better job marketing itself and the 24/7 segments really get fans into these games.

My opinion: let's go on Islanders v. Rangers at Yankee Stadium... NOW!!!!! 

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2012 4:00 pm

Flyers-Rangers gives Winter Classic worst ratings

I dont see a big statistical difference between a 2.4 for this game and a 4 year high of 2.9 a few years back. Sounds like this game is range bound.  The unfortunate fact is that despite hockey being a terrific game to attend live, it remains a boring game for most Americans to watch on television.  Which means most playoff games including conference championships will continue to get relegated to Outdoor Network/Versus/NBC sports channel.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or