The Vancouver Effect produces mixed results
The shine from the Vancouver Olympics is having different effects on different sports.
Hockey obviously hasn't suffered in Canada, while things are pretty much (bad) business as usual in the U.S. Saturday's Hockey Night In Canada regional split of the first game drew more than 2 million viewers, proving that Canadians aren't turned off by NHL-style hockey after witnessing the best the sport has to offer in Vancouver.
While you might think the shine would be off the broom two weeks after Canada's medal-winning performances in curling, but the Brier final scored a record audience Sunday night of 1.6 million viewers. That's almost double last year's audience (873,000), though it should be noted that the new ratings system is consistently producing ratings about 20 per cent higher. Still, that's a big increase no matter how you measure it.
The Paralympics are obviously benefitting from the Vancouver afterglow, with the Canada-Sweden sledge hockey game drawing an amazing 390,000 viewers to Rogers Sportsnet.
Sadly, the Vancouver effect hasn't helped all of the events that turned on the country in February. None of the three World Cup skiing events on CBC Saturday afternoon could draw more than 72,000 viewers. And that's a shame.
South of the border, Sunday's Capitals-Blackhawks game drew a 1.0 rating for NBC -- pretty much average. Obviously, the thrill of Vancouver hasn't produced a bump for the NHL there.
Here are the top weekend sports ratings on English-language television, as calculated by BBM Canada:
1. NHL, Bruins-Habs/Oilers-Leafs, Saturday, CBC: 2,168,000
2. Curling, Brier final, Sunday, TSN: 1,600,000
3. NHL, Senators at Canucks, Saturday, CBC: 1,429,000
4. Curling, Page playoff, Friday, TSN: 979,000
5. Curling, Brier semifinal, Saturday, TSN: 973,000
6. Curling, Page playoff, Saturday, TSN: 823,000
7. NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC: 740,000
8. NHL, Flames at Canucks, Sunday, Sportsnet Pacific: 429,000
9. Paralympics, Canada-Sweden sledge hockey, Sunday, Sportsnet: 390,000
10. NHL, Capitals at Blackhawks, Sunday, TSN: 369,000*
11. Golf, CA Championship, Sunday, TSN: 327,000*
12. Golf, CA Championship, Saturday, TSN: 282,000*
13. Auto racing, F1 Bahrain Grand Prix, Sunday, TSN: 249,000
14. NBA, Raptors at Warriors, Saturday, TSN: 140,000
15. Track, World indoor, Saturday, CBC: 133,000
16. Hockey, Windsor at London, Friday, Sportsnet Ontario: 100,000**
* Viewers on U.S. channels not calculated
** Ontario only
OTHER STUFF: So Tiger Woods is about to make his first post-driveway-accident appearance on a golf course at the Masters, which must prove that the counselling he was getting for his sex addiction really worked quickly. CBS is already predicting that his return to the links could top Barack Obama's inauguration for ratings. That will depend a lot on how he plays and whether or not Elin is in the gallery. ... TSN2 took a beating in the Windsor Star for its production of the women's CIS basketball final Sunday. Columnist Bob Duff knocked the channel for shoddy production and mispronunciation of players' names. ``Come on TSN -- if you want to call yourself Canada’s sports leader, then step up your game -- or leave the amateur sports to networks that really care," he wrote. I caught only the last few minutes of the game, but from what I saw Duff has a point. ... The 3-D revolution continues. Ten hours of the Masters will be shot in 3-D this year and will be available to all those who have 3-D television sets and computers. It's a pretty small market at this point, but it is coming. The World Cup of soccer will also be shown in 3-D.