Where have all the hockey fans gone?
The Stanley Cup final is turning out to be a bit of a ratings dog for CBC, with audiences down 15 per cent after the first five games.
If things continue and Detroit finishes up the series Tuesday night, this could be one of the least-watched Stanley Cup finals in years. But there's a mystery here: Why?
The hockey's been pretty good and there's no shortage of stars on the ice. With the exception of Saturday's blowout, which no doubt sent hundreds of thousands looking for quality reruns, the series has been competitive.
Even CBC is baffled by the ratings drop.
``We're slightly mystified and slightly disappointed," says CBC Sports head Scott Moore. ``Maybe it's a case of been there, done that and Saturday's blowout certainly didn't help.
``But beyond that we're not really sure what's happening."
One possibility Moore raises is that more people are watching events like the Stanley Cup in groups and not being counted in the ratings. He says the new people meters that are being tested to include such gatherings are showing higher audiences for sports.
Moore did say that despite the decrease, the network was meeting its ratings commitment to advertisers.
Moore didn't think the fact the series started on NBC this year, as opposed to CBC having exclusive rights for Games 1 and 2 in 2008, played any role.
``NBC really isn't a factor," he said, noting that the vast majority of Canadians watch their hockey on Canadian channels.
NBC took a hit Saturday, too, scoring a 2.6 overnight rating -- down from last year's 4.3 for Game 5. It must be noted that the 2008 game was a triple-overtime thriller on a Monday night.
Here are the weekend sports ratings in English Canada, according to BBM Nielsen Media Research overnight figures: