NEW YORK – January 2, 2008 – The AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic, broadcast New Year's Day on NBC, earned a 2.6 overnight rating and a 5 share (1-4:45 p.m. ET), the best overnight NHL regular season rating in more than a decade (Feb. 3, 1996 on Fox, six-game regional, 3.0/7). The
Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in the first U.S. outdoor game in NHL history. Twenty-year-old Sidney Crosby, the NHL's reigning MVP, scored the game-winning goal in a shootout.
The overnight rating also surpasses Wayne Gretzky's last game, which was broadcast on Fox (April 18, 1999, 2.5/6).
Top Ten Metered Markets: 1. Buffalo 38.2/58 2. Pittsburgh 17.7/30 3. Minneapolis 5.1/11 4. Denver 3.7/7 T5. Providence 3.5/7 T5. Las Vegas 3.5/6 7. St. Louis 3.3/5 8. Boston 3.2/6 9. Sacramento 2.9/6 T10. Richmond 2.8/5 T10. Hartford 2.8/5
"The best regular season rating in more than a decade is a result of the tremendous efforts of the NHL and we're delighted by the success of this historic event," said Ken Schanzer, President, NBC Sports. "Sam Flood, his production team and our broadcasters also deserve credit for conveying the great atmosphere in Buffalo and producing a memorable broadcast. The Winter Classic exposed hockey to a larger audience and definitely made new fans of the game."
Eddie Olczyk, NBC's NHL game analyst said: "This was one of the best events I've ever been a part of as a player, coach or broadcaster. It truly was a memorable experience and a great day for the sport of hockey."