Bolts' playoff win a jolt for NBC Sports


NBC Sports is off to a good start in 2009 with the NFL and NHL.

The network said Sunday that Saturday's San Diego Chargers-Indianapolis Colts wild-card playoff game, which the Chargers won in overtime, earned the best primetime ratings for a wild-card game to date and the best primetime Saturday ratings for a wild-card game since 1999.

The Chargers-Colts game averaged an 18.3 overnight household rating/30 share from 8:15- 11:45 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nielsen said Sunday, forging a ratings tie with a January 2003 Atlanta-Green Bay wild-card game. Saturday's ratings peaked at a 21.6/37 at 11:30 p.m. EST, when Chargers running back Darren Sproles sprinted 22 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Saturday afternoon's first wild-card game, pitting Arizona against Atlanta, averaged a 14.3/28, Nielsen said, down from last year's 15.4/29 for a Washington-Seattle game in the same window.

On New Year's Day, NBC's "NHL Winter Classic," an outdoor game at Chicago's Wrigley Field, was up in the ratings from last year.

The Detroit Red Wings' 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks averaged a 2.9/6 from 1-4:15 p.m. EST, up 12% compared with the league's 2008 New Year's Day outdoor game (2.6/5). (partialdiff)
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