TSN up, CBC down in Stanley Cup ratings
Though Calgary's exit from the playoffs means the party's over at TSN, it's still been a pretty good run for the specialty channel. Having a Canadian team in the playoffs for the first time drove TSN's ratings up an incredible 42 per cent over last season.
Averaging 567,000 viewers, TSN topped its previous high of 440,000 set in 1992. Much of that was fuelled by the Calgary-Chicago series, though having two series go to the maximum didn't hurt. The final game of the Calgary series on Monday drew 1.1 million viewers, the largest first-round audience in TSN history.
Tuesday's Washington-New York final barely missed the million mark, with 917,000 viewers.
The news wasn't quite so good at CBC, where audiences dropped 17 per cent, mainly because it had one less Canadian series than it did last year.
CBC's audience drop was due mainly to a four-game fizzle by the Montreal Canadiens and the new NHL deal that gave one Canadian series to TSN. Also hurting was an Anaheim-San Jose series played mostly after bedtime in the east and featuring two teams that Canadians care little about.
The good news is that the first-round ratings stars, the Vancouver Canucks, are still alive and are playing Chicago, a team many got to know better through the Calgary series. Canucks games averaged 1.5 million in the first round and should hit the 2 million mark this time.
Also good news is the second-round schedule, that guarantees CBC at least two games in its traditional Saturday night spot. Having the Ovechkin-Crosby series could boost ratings, but many of those games will also be on NBC meaning some of the audience will gravitate south.
On the topic of things from the south, Versus is averaging 445,000 for its first 21 Stanley Cup telecasts, a 29 per cent increase over last season. That's a pretty small number (comparable to about 45,000 here) but up is never bad.
Last weekend's games on NBC scored ratings of 1.2 and 1.0, the latter tying taped poker. But the NHL did beat out supercross and seniors golf, so things are looking up.
The countdown to J-Day (when the first Jays game is scheduled for TSN2) is now 21 days and counting.
Adding to the drama is the fact that Friday's Anaheim-Detroit playoff game is on TSN2, meaning Rogers subscribers won't be able to watch it. At least there won't be a string of complaints about Friday's Anaheim-Detroit game being on TSN2 after TSN and CBC made a last-minute deal to move the game to the public network. While a deal will surely probably get done by then, this whole stalemate between Rogers and TSN has been a bit of a mystery. One thing is for sure: It's not about the asking price for TSN2. According to sources, TSN is asking Rogers to pay less than 30 cents a month per subscriber. TSN, by comparison, gets more than $1 a month. Even for a channel that shows a lot or reruns, 30 cents doesn't sound that outrageous. ... Speaking of Rogers, guess who's going to be carrying this year's NFL package of games produced by the NFL Network? Surprise, it's Rogers Sportsnet. This year's Buffalo Bills game in Toronto is on a Thursday night, which happens to be NFL Network property. Under last year's deal, that would have been shown on TSN, a possibility this year that knotted a lot of underwear at Rogers headquarters. That's why Sportsnet is now doing more NFL games and TSN will have to find something else eight nights of the year. ... Darrin Fletcher has shown some improvement as a Blue Jays TV analyst, though reading stats on air makes it sound like he hasn't spent a lot of time doing homework. Also not helping was his referring to Alex Rios as ``Jose Rios" Tuesday night.
AND SPEAKING OF MISSTATEMENTS ...
Matt Vasgersian's trail of missteps, stumbles and on-air gaffes should not surprise anybody. After all, the MLB Network announcer was one of the first hires by the egregious XFL. Here's his latest apology, which came after a lame joke about a guy Vasgersian claimed looked like Donovan McNabb. The only resemblance was the guy's skin colour.