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Sabres lose much of local audience from 2008 Winter Classic

The Buffalo Sabres' 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers in the 10th anniversary game of the NHL's Winter Classic lost about two-thirds of the local TV audience from the 2008 game played in what was then named Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.

Monday's game from Citi Field in the borough of Queens in New York City had a preliminary 12.4 rating on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2), the local NBC affiliate, during game action. The rating peaked during the overtime at 14.4.

That's a strong rating for a regular season hockey game.

However, the Sabres' shootout loss to Pittsburgh in the 2008 game had a 38.2 rating on Channel 2.

There likely were multiple reasons for the decline, including the hangover from the Buffalo Bills breaking their 17 season playoff drought Sunday, the Sabres' poor start to the season and the fact outdoor games no longer seem as novel.

By comparison, the Bills win over Miami Sunday had a 43.1 rating.

Notre Dame's 21-17 college football victory over LSU in the Citrus Bowl, which played opposite the hockey game, had a 5.5 local rating on WKBW-TV (Channel 7), the local ABC affiliate.

And Georgia's 54-48 double overtime victory over Oklahoma in a college football playoff semifinal game had an 11.1 preliminary local rating on ESPN. The local rating peaked at 16.8 at 9 p.m.

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