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'Winter Classic" Most Viewed Regular Season NHL Game in 34 Years

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January 13th, 2009

via NBC press release:

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Viewership for NHL Winter Classic on NBC Best Since 1975; Shows 17% Gain Over Inaugural Winter Classic
NEW YORK January 12, 2009 NHL Winter Classic 2009, broadcast New Year's Day on NBC, was the most-viewed NHL regular season game in almost 34 years. An average of more than 4.4 million Americans watched the Detroit Red Wings defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 from historic Wrigley Field, a 17 percent increase over last year's inaugural Winter Classic (3.75 million) and the biggest audience since Feb. 23, 1975 (5.4 million, Philadelphia-New York Rangers on NBC), according to Nielsen Media Research.

The game earned a 2.5 national rating and a 5 share (1-4:15 p.m. ET), a 14 percent increase over last year's inaugural event (2.2/4, 1-4:45 p.m. ET).

"GAME OF THE WEEK" RETURNS TO NBC ON SUNDAY: The "Game of the Week" makes its 2009 debut on NBC this Sunday with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the New York Rangers, 12:30 p.m. ET.

For the first time, "Game of the Week" broadcasts have a consistent start time 12:30 p.m. ET on Sundays (except for April 12, 2 p.m. start time). For the second straight season, the NHL and NBC will utilize flex scheduling and will be able to select from up to three games on Sunday afternoons. Thirteen days prior to the scheduled games (on Mondays), NBC, in conjunction with the NHL, will select one of those games as the "Game of the Week" to be broadcast during the NBC window. The other games will remain available to the teams' regional carrier but will not be televised during NBC's broadcast window.

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