The New Year's Day event on NBC earned a 2.9 overnight rating and a 6.0 share, the best overnight NHL regular-season rating in nearly 13 years. The Red Wings defeated the Blackhawks 6-4 in the second U.S. outdoor game in NHL history.
Last year's Winter Classic at the Buffalo Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium drew a 2.6 overnight rating and a 5.0 share on NBC when Pittsburgh beat Buffalo 2-1 in a shootout.
"Year one was an extraordinary experience," NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said Saturday. "Year two was the establishment of what promises to be a great tradition."
Overnight ratings measure the 55 largest TV markets in the United States, covering nearly 70 percent of the country. Each overnight rating point represents about 735,000 TV homes.
The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.