The good news for the NHL and TNT is that Winter Classic viewership this year increased from last year’s record-low.

The bad news is that viewership was still the second least-watched ever.

On Monday, the Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Penguins at Boston’s Fenway Park averaged 1.778 million viewers on TNT. That’s up from last year’s game, the Blues’ 6-4 win over the Wild at Target Field, which averaged a record-low 1.36 million viewers on TNT. However, it’s the second least-watched Winter Classic ever, and the third in a row that failed to top two million viewers. Prior to 2022, all previous editions of the game aired on NBC, with the last two airing on cable.

Last year’s game was the most-watched NHL regular season game ever on cable, and the most-watched game of the regular season. This year’s game is also the most-watched game of the current season, and is now the most-watched regular season game ever on cable.

The game went head to head with Tulane’s upset win over USC in the Cotton Bowl, which averaged 4.165 million viewers on ESPN. Additionally, the first hour or so of the game went head to head with the end of the Reliaquest Bowl between Mississippi State and Illinois on ESPN2, which averaged 2.182 million viewers.

Next year, the Winter Classic will take place in Seattle on New Year’s Day, and will feature the Kraken hosting the Vegas Golden Knights. It’s the same day as the College Football Playoff Semifinals, which should provide stiffer competition than this year’s two bowl games.

[Data via ShowBuzz Daily]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.