- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game1 day ago
Two or three weeks worth of results aren't much of an indication of anything other than, say, a World Series. Two weeks there pretty much tells the whole story, whereas with something like television ratings, two weeks is barely a blip on the radar screen.
But since we're in the business of analyzing small samples when it comes to sports ratings, two weeks can tell some stories. Here are two of them:
The World According to Rogers
So far the multi-channel, multi-game approach is producing typically strong ratings for the new Owner of All Things on Ice. Saturday night's Hockey Night In Canada early offerings produced an average of 2.2 milliion viewers, crushing all other sports programs by more than 1 million. On Friday, a Toronto Maple Leafs game pulled in 723,000 viewers in one province (Ontario, if you're geographically challenged.)
But, so far, audiences for Hockey Night In Canada are actually lower than they were last season. And that 723,000 was pretty much what the Leafs averaged in Ontario last season.
- Andrew Bucholtz at Eh Game7 days ago
Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani took part in a media conference call Wednesday to detail what went into the formal response the association filed last week to the 2015 Women's World Cup turf lawsuit, and he made it clear the association isn't not going to back down. The call covered several of the key issues the CSA sees with the lawsuit and discussed their plans to fight it in court, but the most notable tidbit emerging from it may well be that as of right now (with less than eight months before the tournament's first game), the organization is not considering alternatives to turf surfaces and has not talked to their city or stadium partners about switching to temporary grass. The CSA is doubling down on their stance that holding the tournament on grass isn't discrimnatory, and betting that this lawsuit won't lead to an outcome that forces them to change.
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game7 days ago
So how's that $5.2 billion baby working out for Rogers?
While early returns are almost meaningless in the grand scheme of things, the first week of the new NHL season as presented by the corporation that cornered the market on hockey in Canada produced a mix bag of ratings results. On one hand, as the company announced on Tuesday, the first Saturday night produced a record Hockey Night In Canada audience of 9.8 million people.
That's pretty impressive as far as audience reach goes -- that being the total number of people who tuned in to the broadcasts at some point -- but the TV business doesn't run on audience reach. It runs on average viewers per minute and in that regard Rogers did well, but fell short of last year's opening night audiences.
The early games, carried on CBC and a slew of Rogers channels, averaged 2.23 million viewers. That was easily the most-watched sports event of the week, but was 14 per cent lower than last season's Saturday night debut. The late games, also on multiple channels, averaged 1.3 million, down 10 per cent from 2013.
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game8 days ago
Ralph Platner didn't hit home runs, throw touchdown passes, rock the rim or score goals but he was as much a fixture on the Toronto sports scene as any of its most famous athletes.
The name will mean nothing to most sports fans, but if they think hard enough they'll know exactly who he was. Ralph was the guy who sold programs at practically every Toronto sporting event over the last 50 years, a fixture in his shorts, work boots and black socks.
Sadly, they will have only memories, because Ralph is gone, far too young, at the age of 67. His death from a stroke this month was reported on the Blue Jays fan blog Random Jays Stuff and he was eulogized brilliantly by TV announcer Mark Hebscheron Thanksgiving Day.
The Toronto sports scene will be the poorer for his departure. It's basically a colourless scene, more corporate than anything else. But guys like Ralph added a different tone to things, real down-to-earth folks making a living by hawking refreshments or programs.
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game10 days ago
When Rogers redrew the NHL broadcasting map, it promised that it would make changes to the venerable institution known as Hockey Night In Canada .
Well, in its first kick at the can Saturday night Rogers lived up to it promise -- most notably by shuffling its former stars to the sidelines. The guys CBC had made the face of Saturday night were barely noticeable, which is quite an accomplishment considering the suit and tie Don Cherry wore in his first appearance on Coach's Corner , Rogers Edition.
He and sidekick/enabler Ron MacLean have gone from being the stars of the show to mere afterthoughts.
Whereas Cherry usually made at least two appearances prior to Coach's Corn er in the past -- with MacLean routinely throwing in a few "well, as Grapes says," comments to boot -- new host George Stroumboulopoulos didn't invoke the G-word until 20 minutes into the pre-game show, and simply to say that he was up after the first period. In the past, while Cherry would also have made an appearance post-game in order to tell viewers what had really happened, he wasn't seen or heard from after the first intermission.
CSA formally responds to Women's World Cup turf lawsuit, arguing against expedited process and stressing involvement of FIFA, different provincesAndrew Bucholtz at Eh Game12 days ago
The Canadian Soccer Association appears set to fight the Women's World Cup turf lawsuit from a group of prominent American and international players every step of the way. The CSA officially filed a formal response to the applicants' request to expedite the suit this week and made that response public Friday. Not only does their response argue against expediting the suit, it brings up key timing and jurisdictional issues that indicate what a substantial part of the organization's strategy will be. First off, here's what their response says about the timing involved:
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game13 days ago
The 2014 PGA Tour hasn't been kind to Canadians.
The best this country has to offer couldn't win a tournament again, running this country's winless streak to five years. After finishing 2013 in eighth place in the FedEx Cup rankings, Canadian Graham DeLaet stumbled and ended 2014 in 37th place. He still made $2.6 million, though that was a slight drop from 2013.
But there's one area where Canadian golf fans can wave the flag: the growing number of Canucks on the tour. According to Bob Weeks of Score Golf, the six Canadians who teed off at the 2014-15 season opener Frys Open Thursday in Napa, Calif., may represent an all-time record.
Weeks wrote that after consulting with the PGA, it appears that this is the greatest Canadian representation at any PGA event not held in Canada.
As Weeks points out, Canada is surpassed in the size of its contingent only by the U.S. (102) and Australia (nine.) There are more Canadians in the tournament than South Africans, Englishmen or South Koreans. That alone may be a first.
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game14 days ago
Hockey fans got their first look at the NHL according to Rogers on Wednesday night and basically got a hockey broadcast of a Montreal-Toronto game.
That's not a bad thing. With an arsenal of new cameras, some old faces in new places and a mission to be different, it would have been easy for the Rogers crew to overdo things. Show off the new toys and the new boys.
To their credit, they gave fans a solid hockey broadcast with the occasional innovation thrown in. Some of it worked brilliantly, some of it not so much. But credit to Rogers for trying some new things and for not trying to reinvent the wheel. Fans can look forward to things getting even better as the season goes on.
No doubt the producer had to work hard to hold himself back from using the SkyCam, RefCam and POVCams every few minutes. They were used, but in moderation. The game looked like a hockey broadcast with a few tricks thrown in.
Here's what worked and what didn't:
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game15 days ago
If Ron MacLean accomplished anything in suggesting that NHL president Gary Bettman might have played a role in his demotion under the new Rogers hockey regime, it was to shine a light on how business is done in the television world.
In an article published in the Globe and Mailon the weekend, MacLean spoke in glowing terms about his new role as a cross-Canada rover hosting Rogers new Sunday night hockey package. But at the same time, he made it clear that he saw the new job as a step down from being the man at the centre of Hockey Night In Canada.
He even suggested that his contentious annual showdowns with Bettman might have been the reason he'll be hosting from small-town arenas in the hinterland instead of in the humble $4.5 million HNIC studio.
“Maybe that hurt me but I would gladly fall on my sword for that principle,” MacLean told the Globe's David Shoalts. “But I don’t know that it had anything to do with [a reduced role]. It could have.”
- Chris Zelkovich at Eh Game15 days ago
While baseball takes a back seat to hockey and football among Canadian sports fans, there's no denying that the grand old game still has a significant following.
Despite the late-season collapse of the Toronto Blue Jays, Canadians obviously aren't too depressed to watch other teams show how it's done. So far through the post-season, ratings have been strong. That may not continue once the pucks start to fly, but for now Rogers has to be very happy with the results.
On Saturday, for example, despite going head-to-head with the Edmonton-Toronto football game, the San Francisco-Washington playoff game drew an average of 504,000 viewers to Sportsnet. Maybe even more impressive was the fact that Friday's game between the same two teams drew 309,000 for a 3 p.m. ET start. Maybe there are more unemployed people than we thought.