Stanley Cup producing ratings increases, at least so far
It's been a pretty good spring for the National Hockey League, at least as far as things not involving the word ``Balsillie" go.
TSN reports a 21 per cent increase in ratings over its second-round coverage last season with a 681,000 average. Sunday's Chicago-Detroit game gave NBC a 2.0 rating, 33 per cent better than last year's conference final opener. Versus continues to score big ratings, at least by Versus standards.
But there are causes for concern. The second round was a slight downer on CBC, the 1,366,000 average being 1 per cent off last spring's comparable numbers despite the great hockey on display.
And while Sunday's NBC audience was encouraging, you have to wonder if the third round can keep things going. The second round was filled with seven-game series and that incredible Crosby-Ovechkin showdown. The conference finals will need to go seven games to keep the ratings momentum going.
Still, hockey is king in Canada, which was illustrated by Toronto FC's ratings. Three weeks ago, following an NHL game on CBC, the soccer team drew 261,000 viewers. This Saturday, with no hockey to lure an audience to CBC, the TFC game against Chicago attracted only 56,000 viewers.
Here are the weekend ratings, according to BBM Nielsen Media Research overnight figures:
1. Hockey, Hurricanes at Penguins, Sunday, TSN: 581,000*
2. Baseball, White Sox at Blue Jays, Sunday, Sportsnet: 411,000
3. Baseball, White Sox at Blue Jays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 317,000
4. Hockey, Memorial Cup: Drummondville vs. Windsor, Saturday, Sportsnet: 209,000
5. Tennis, ATP Madrid semifinal, Saturday, TSN: 206,000
6. Auto racing, NASCAR All-Star Challenge, Saturday, TSN: 204,000
7. Basketball, Magic at Celtics, Sunday, TSN: 180,000
8. Hockey, Memorial Cup: Rimouski vs. Windsor, Sunday, Sportsnet: 173,000
9. Hockey, Memorial Cup: Kelowna vs. Rimouski, Friday, Sportsnet: 157,000
10. Tennis, ATP Madrid final, Sunday, TSN: 133,000
* Canadian viewers on NBC not calculated