Hockey endures in spite of the Leafs
You might think, what with the Toronto Maple Leafs being out of the playoff race since opening night, that hockey ratings would take a tumble. But despite the dismal Leafs being the featured attraction every Saturday night on CBC, ratings are actually up.
According to BBM Nielsen Media Research, ratings for Game 1, which involves the Leafs in most markets, are averaging 1.176 million. That's 6 per cent ahead of last season. Game 2 audiences (702,000) are 4 per cent ahead of last year's pace.
Following are the top-rated sports shows of the weekend, which not surprisingly are dominated by hockey and curling. Missing from the list are the World Baseball Classic, which attracted 172,000 viewers for Sunday's Japan-U.S. game on Rogers Sportsnet.
Also absent, as always, is basketball. The Raptors drew only 103,000 to TSN on Friday, though the team's dismal performance has a lot to do with that. So does the apparently interminable TSN2 situation with Rogers, which is hardly encouraging new fans while turning off a lot of old ones.
As for the much-hyped March Madness, the best The Score could do was 97,000 viewers for the Siena-Louisville game on Sunday. No doubt more viewers tend to watch on CBS, but it does indicate the madness isn't quite as widespread north of the U.S. border.
There, CBS ratings are up 6 per cent over last year and averaged more than 5 million viewers in the first two rounds. The Scored averaged 58,000.
Here are the most-watched programs from the weekend:
1. Hockey Night In Canada, early game, Saturday, CBC: 1,274,000
2. Hockey Night In Canada, Canucks at Coyotes, Saturday, CBC: 779,000
3. Curling, Canada Cup men's final, Sunday, TSN: 446,000
4. Ottawa at N.Y. Rangers, Sunday, TSN: 389,000
5. Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC: 343,000
6. Curling, Canada Cup women's final, Sunday, TSN: 276,000.