Real Madrid scores for GolTV
It was a big night, at least by GolTV standards.
Last Friday's fun kick-around between Real Madrid and Toronto FC drew 90,000 viewers, which would be considered a miserable failure for most Canadian channels. But since the game was on a tiny digital channel named GolTV, this was a blockbuster.
The game produced the channel's largest ratings, thanks mainly to a distribution deal that put it on free preview and even made the game available to those with old-fashioned analog channels.
Does it prove that soccer is a big-time sport here? Not really, though that's not really in dispute since World Cup ratings have already done that.
Does it put GolTV on the map? Yes, at least for now. But now that it has soccer fans' attention, the new MLSE property will have to follow up with some solid programming. Some World Cup games and maybe even an EPL match or two wouldn't hurt.
By the way, if you not that ratings for Friday's Argos-Alouettes game look a little low, consider this: Almost 300,000 watched the game on French-language RDS. I'm told many of those are anglophones who've got themselves in the habit of watching football en francais.
Here are the most-watched weekend sports events in English Canada, according to BBM Nielsen Media Research overnight ratings:
1. Football, Roughriders at Lions, Friday, TSN: 425,000
2. Football, Blue Bombers at Stampeders, Saturday, TSN: 367,000
3. Football, Eskimos at Tiger-Cats, Saturday, TSN: 354,000
4. Football, Argos at Alouettes, Friday, TSN: 281,000
5. Baseball, Orioles at Blue Jays, Sunday, Sportsnet: 258,000
6. Baseball, Orioles at Blue Jays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 234,000
7. Baseball, Orioles at Blue Jays, Friday, Sportsnet: 223,000*
8. Auto racing, NASCAR Sprint Cup (rainout), Sunday, TSN: 144,000
9. Football, Bills vs. Titans, Sunday, TSN: 135,000**
10. Baseball, Red Sox at Yankees, Saturday, Sportsnet: 126,000
* Pacific and Ontario channels only
** NBC audience not calculated