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Richard Whittall

CBC Television's numbers hold up well despite early exits

Dirty Tackle

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A lot of Canadians watched this

Despite big favourites with big Canadian fan-bases France and Italy exiting the World Cup in the group stage, this weekend's round-of-16 knockout round proved a big ratings boost for CBC television, with numbers up across the board for each game. What remains to be seen is if the US's exit to Ghana and England's stumble to Germany, both of which drew the biggest numbers at 2.116 and 2.270 million viewers respectively, could prove a knock-out round peak for the Mothercorp.

While Germany and Argentina have each provided big numbers since the opening round, they will play each other at the same time in Saturday's quarterfinal match in Cape Town. It's not known if CBC can maintain momentum heading into the quarterfinals with Brazil vs. Holland providing the only other marquee match-up. But the semifinals could be major weekday ratings winners, with the possibility of Germany or Argentina vs. Spain or Portugal or Paraguay, or Brazil facing old arch-rivals Uruguay, a repeat of the epic semifinal match from the 1970 World Cup.

But perhaps the greatest boost for CBC thus far has been the quality of play (with the exception of today's dire Paraguay vs. Japan game); too many round-of-16 duds and the neutral viewers wouldn't be as likely to return for the quarterfinals.

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