American television 
The Winter Classic as a television event was presented by NBC Sports Executive VP Jon Miller. He pitched the idea to the NHL in 2004 "but they didn't find the concept workable." In December 2006, Miller found an ally in then Executive VP/Business & Media John Collins, who embraced the idea. The first Winter Classic was held January 1, 2008, between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The game had an NHL-record crowd of 71,217 fans in attendance. The success of the 2008 NHL Winter Classic led the NHL to schedule a second one for 2009, held at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois, on January 1, 2009, matching the Detroit Red Wings against the Chicago Blackhawks. That game had the highest American television ratings of any hockey game in 33 years. The success of the 2009 NHL Winter Classic has solidified "the Classic" as an annual event from then on. The Winter Classic was officially made a permanent part of the NHL schedule through at least January 1, 2021, as part of the league's television contract with NBC and Versus.
- In 2008, some NBC affiliates decided instead to air the game on secondary channels often used for weather service. Therefore, in some markets, fans with a satellite service carrying DirecTV or DISH Network were unable to watch the game. Despite this, and competing with broadcasts of college football bowl games (this was particularly noted in the Detroit, Michigan market, usually a strong market for hockey ratings, where the Wolverines were playing in the Capital One Bowl), the game garnered a 2.6 rating and 5 share, the highest rating for a regular season NHL game since 1996, and the highest share since Wayne Gretzky's final game in 1999, in a near tie with second-place CBS' 2.7 rating for Gator Bowl coverage. The production earned a 38.1 rating in Buffalo and 17.7 rating in Pittsburgh, to lead all markets.
- NBC had an airplane flying overhead to provide bird's-eye views of the rink, including a live webstream from its camera throughout the game. The announcers stood in a constructed perch on the penalty box side of the rink, in front of the stadium stands.
- In 2009, Dave Strader filled-in for Mike Emrick on play-by-play for NBC because Emrick had come down with laryngitis.
- On January 3, 2009, the NHL reported that the overnight television ratings had increased 12% over the 2008 game. Nationally, the game had 2.9 overnight rating and a 6 share. In Chicago, Thursday's game drew a national high of an 11.8 rating and 21 share, with Detroit second at 10.5 and 21 (this despite that yet again, a Michigan-based team was playing in the Capital One Bowl opposite the Winter Classic—this time the Michigan State Spartans). Other above-average markets included Buffalo (whose 10.1 rating/20 share was comparable to Detroit's), St. Louis (5.3/10), Pittsburgh (4.4/8), Denver (4.2/10), Providence (3.5/7), Indianapolis (3.4/6), West Palm Beach (3.3/6), and Orlando (3.2/5). Each overnight ratings point equals about 735,000 TV homes. On January 12, the final ratings figure was announced. There was an average of 4.4 million viewers of the game on NBC, and this was the largest since the February 23, 1975 match between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers.
- The 2012 game was played on January 2 since January 1 landed on a Sunday.
Canadian television (English) 
Canadian television (French) 
Finnish television 
- ^ Wyshynski, Greg. “Chatting with NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood about Winter Classic, cable cam for hockey, Mike Milbury and HBO '24/7'”, “Puck Daddy,” December 21, 2010
- ^ Brink, Bill. “Winter Classic is a cool concept”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 26, 2010
- ^ Dowbiggen, Bruce. “How hockey found its signature moment”, The Globe and Mail, December 30, 2010
- ^ Your Announcers and Open Thread For the 2010 Winter Classic
- ^ Milbury Off Winter Classic Coverage?
- ^ Springer, Steve (1991-08-27). "Ice in Desert? It's No Mirage Hockey: Kings, Rangers play in Caesars Palace parking lot tonight.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
- ^ Huskey, Melody (2008-12-31). "Kings No Stranger To Outdoor Game". Retrieved 2010-11-24.
- ^ "Beezer on Winter Classic (video)". Blue Shirts United. 2011-12-22. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- ^ "Kelly Hrudey: Bonus Clip From MSG's Vault (video)". MSG. 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- ^ a b "TV ratings bonanza for Winter Classic". Associated Press. 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- ^ Zelkovich, Chris; McGran, Kevin (2008-01-03). "'Ice Bowl' proves to be hot ticket for league, NBC". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- ^ "NBC Sports to broadcast first U.S. outdoor game in NHL history on New Year's Day". NBC Sports. 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- ^ "Emrick to miss Bridgestone Winter Classic". NHL.com. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
- ^ NHL WINTER CLASSIC ON NBC DELIVERS BEST REGULAR SEASON OVERNIGHT IN NEARLY 13 YEARS. NBC press release. 3 January 2009.
- ^ Kuc, Chris (January 3, 2009). "Winter Classic draws impressive ratings". Chicago Tribune.
- ^ "Wings' game draws largest TV audience in 33 years". Detroit News. January 12, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
- ^ HNIC Has the 2010 Winter Classic Covered
- ^ Canadian Press (December 31, 2010). "Winter Classic moved to Saturday night". CBC Sports. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- ^ CBC Sports HDTV to make debut
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