NHL all-star game draws average audience of nearly 2.4 million viewers

TORONTO – The new NHL all-star game format was a ratings boon for CBC.

An average audience of 2.389 million viewers tuned in Sunday as Team Lidstrom defeated Team Staal 11-10, the public broadcaster said in a release Monday.

Viewership of the showcase game in Raleigh, N.C., peaked at 3.35 million late in the third period with Team Staal pressing for the tie.

Sunday’s average ratings for the all-star game were the network’s best in since 1999, when it drew 1.67 million viewers. CBC drew an average of 1.527 million viewers for the 2009 all-star game in Montreal. There was no all-star game last year because of the Vancouver Olympics.

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The introduction of a new measuring system in September 2009 has seen sports TV ratings skyrocket.

This year’s all-star game featured a fantasy draft instead of the stale conference versus conference format.

The teams were picked by Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom and Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal.

Meanwhile, CBC said Saturday night’s skills competition drew an average audience of 2.446 million viewers. The previous high again came in 2009, when 1.371 million viewers tuned in.

Friday night’s fantasy draft averaged 1.5 million viewers on TSN. The audience peaked at 1.9 million late in the broadcast as Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel was selected last.