NBC to air Toronto-Detroit contest on Jan. 1

After being rumored for weeks, the NHL and NBC made if official Thursday: The Jan. 1, 2013 Winter Classic will be held at Michigan Stadium where the Toronto Maple Leafs will face off against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Peacock, which owns the TV rights to the NHL and last year reupped its deal, has telecast each of the Winter Classic match-ups since the league began the game in 2008.

The most recent Winter Classic saw the New York Rangers traveling to Philadelphia to defeat the Flyers. The game drew 3.7 million viewers, which was down from the all-time of 4.5 million last year when Washington played Pittsburgh.

On the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan Stadium holds nearly 110,000 and, if filled to capacity, would be the largest audience ever to see an NHL game in person.

Toronto and Detroit are two of the original six NHL teams. Others are Boston, Chicago, Montreal and the New York Rangers.

HBO also joined the Winter Classic tradition last year when it began airing the four-episode docuseries “24/7: The Road to the Winter Classic.”

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