Winter Classic attracts record audience

An average of 3.57 million viewers tuned in to CBC's coverage of the Winter for Wednesday's outdoor game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Outdoor game averaged 3.57 million viewers

The Detroit Red Wings salute the crowd after the losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout at the Winter Classic. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Winter Classic drew a record TV audience for CBC.

An average of 3.57 million viewers tuned in for Wednesday's outdoor game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The audience peaked at more than 5.3 million viewers at the start of the third round of the shootout.

CBC says it's the largest audience ever for a non-playoff game and the largest ever recorded for an outdoor game.

The previous record for a non-playoff game was 3.31 million for the season-opener between Montreal and Toronto on Jan. 19, 2013. The previous Winter Classic record was 1.91 million for the 2011 game between Pittsburgh and Washington.

The game, won by Toronto 3-2 in a shootout, drew well in the U.S. too with NBC attracting 4.4 million viewers, making it the second-highest rated Winter Classic behind the 2011 game (4.52 million viewers).

Sports TV ratings have skyrocketed in recent years following the introduction of a new ratings system.

Some 105,491 fans braved snow and cold temperatures at Michigan Stadium to watch the Winter Classic in person.

with files from CBCSports.ca

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