The overnight ratings for the 2015 Winter Classic are in and they’re not pretty. The game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals posted a 2.3, checking in as the lowest overnight rating in the event’s history.
Here’s a look at how the rating stacks up to previous editions of the Winter Classic.
NHL Winter Classic overnight ratings:
2013: No game.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) January 2, 2015
The story was more positive online, but there’s a fairly simple explanation.
NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports' live streaming product – delivered 60.5k uniques for NHL Winter Classic, up 17% vs last year @LiveExtra
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) January 2, 2015
The boost was due to a ton of exposure.
LRT: http://t.co/saVfcZDuIU front-paged the Winter Classic stream from NBC.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 2, 2015
Will the NHL be concerned with this ratings figure? Probably not. The game is still a tremendous success in terms of attendance and merchandise sales, but the ratings will give more fuel to the argument suggesting the Winter Classic isn’t the spectacle it once was.
The disappointing ratings shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you’ve visited Bloguin’s main NHL site Puck Drunk Love, you may have seen a rant suggesting that the Winter Classic has lost its luster. The NHL has rolled out additional outdoor games which have taken away from the spectacle and uniqueness of the Winter Classic. They’ve selected from the same small group of teams to compete each year, failing to add new blood to the mix. The 2015 edition of the Classic took place in a generic baseball stadium – Nationals Park – which lacked any history or significance.
Bring back an interesting venue. Introduce new teams. Host musical acts that fans and non-fans may want to see even if they don’t have an interest in the game.
The Winter Classic can still be something special, but the NHL needs to make a few changes.
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