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Winter Classic game between Toronto and Detroit a ratings bonanza for CBC

Friday, 01.03.2014 / 5:45 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Winter Classic game between Toronto and Detroit a ratings bonanza for CBC

TORONTO - The Winter Classic drew a record TV audience for CBC.

An average of 3.57 million viewers tuned in for Wednesday's outdoor game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings in Ann Arbor, Mich.

CBC says it's the largest audience ever for a non-playoff game and the largest ever recorded for an outdoor game.

The previous record for a non-playoff game was 3.31 million for the season-opener between Montreal and Toronto on Jan. 19, 2013. The previous Winter Classic record was 1.91 million for the 2011 game between Pittsburgh and Washington.

The game, won by Toronto 3-2 in a shootout, drew well in the U.S. too with NBC attracting 4.4 million viewers, making it the second-highest rated Winter Classic behind the 2011 game (4.52 million viewers).

Sports TV ratings have skyrocketed in recent years following the introduction of a new ratings system.

Some 105,491 fans braved snow and cold temperatures at Michigan Stadium to watch the Winter Classic in person.

Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic