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2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Watched By Record 8.2 Million Viewers Across North America

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ANN ARBOR, MI - JANUARY 01: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his third-period goal that tied the game at 2-2 with teammates Kyle Quincey #27 and Pavel Datsyuk #13 during the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, MI – JANUARY 01: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his third-period goal that tied the game at 2-2 with teammates Kyle Quincey #27 and Pavel Datsyuk #13 during the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (January 3, 2014) – The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® followed its hockey attendance record by re-writing the record book for regular-season North American television viewership as well.

The combined average television viewership for Wednesday afternoon’s Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on NBC in the U.S., and CBC and RDS in Canada was 8.234 million viewers in North America.  The previous best was 6.6 million average viewers for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, which aired in primetime on NBC, CBC and RDS due to a weather delay.

“We knew an NHL Winter Classic at the Big House with the Red Wings-Maple Leafs rivalry would be special, but what unfolded was extraordinary,” said NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins. “The players, the fans – and the elements – made for a record-setting afternoon and our partners at NBC, CBC and RDS delivered great coverage and unforgettable images. The magnitude and success of the overall NHL Winter Classic experience in both Detroit and Ann Arbor also underscore the continued growth of the NHL as a North American business.”

The 4.404 million viewers for NBC’s broadcast in the U.S. was the second-largest audience for an NHL regular-season game in 39 years. The impressive average U.S. viewership total was achieved despite the fact that only one of the participating teams — the Detroit Red Wings — represented a U.S. television market. This marked the first time that a Canadian team has played in the NHL Winter Classic.

The numbers for CBC also were record setting. On average, 3.57 million viewers tuned into the CBC telecast, the largest audience ever for a non-playoff NHL game in Canadian broadcast history. The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® also becomes the largest audience ever for an outdoor NHL game on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada. An additional 260,000 viewers watched the French-language telecast on RDS.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated their Original Six rivals, the Red Wings, in dramatic fashion at the University of Michigan’s “Big House.” The Maple Leafs won 3-2 in a shootout before 105,491 fans – the largest crowd ever to see a hockey game.

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