TSN gets both Game 7s, but CBC sitting pretty for round 2
As the first round of the two-month National Hockey League odyssey nears an end, it's still not clear whether CBC made the right call in choosing the Pittsburgh-Ottawa series over the Montreal-Washington one.
A glance at this week's TV listings sure points to a victory by TSN, mainly because it has ended up with both Game 7 showdowns. Those will produce huge ratings in what has been a pretty successful playoff run for TSN.
But CBC didn't fare too badly. While taking the Vancouver series was pretty much a no-brainer, the Canucks certainly haven't disappointed in the ratings. CBC's Pens-Sens broadcast Saturday night drew upwards of a million viewers more than TSN's carriage of the Habs-Caps game on Friday, though CBC pretty much had the hockey world to itself Saturday night. Still, an audience of almost 3 million is not to be dismissed lightly.
Whoever wins this round, there's no doubt that CBC has the upper hand in the next. It gets the first two picks, which means it could end up with both Canadian-based teams should the Habs survive Wednesday's game in Washington.
If not, the Corp. still gets Vancouver, which guarantees high ratings for at least one series. If the Habs should die on Wednesday, expect CBC to stick with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. They did nothing in the first round to merit being dropped.
Here are the top-rated weekend sports events on English-language television, according to BBM Canada overnight calculations:
1. NHL, Penguins at Senators, Saturday, CBC: 2,948,000
2. NHL, Canucks at Kings, Sunday, CBC: 2,826,000
3. NHL, Kings at Canucks, Friday, CBC: 1,953,000
4. NHL, Canadiens at Capitals, Friday, TSN: 1,629,000
5. NHL, Avalanche at Sharks, Saturday, CBC: 1,359,000
6. NHL, Predators at Blackhawks, Saturday, TSN: 747,000*
7. NHL, Coyotes at Red Wings, Sunday, TSN: 715,000*
8. NHL, Bruins at Sabres, Friday, CBC: 593,000
9. NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC: 570,000
10. NHL, Red Wings at Coyotes, Friday, TSN: 521,000
11. Baseball, Blue Jays at Rays, Friday, Sportsnet: 452,000**
12. Baseball, Blue Jays at Rays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 374,000
13. Baseball, Blue Jays at Rays, Sunday, Sportsnet: 279,000
14. NHL, Pre-game show, Sunday, TSN: 263,000
15. Figure skating, world synchronized championships, Saturday, CBC: 201,000
16. MLS, Seattle at Toronto FC, Saturday, CBC: 188,000
17. Auto racing, NASCAR Aaron's 499, Sunday, TSN2: 175,000*
18. NBA, Mavericks at Spurs, Sunday, TSN: 130,000
19. EPL, Sunderland at Hull, Saturday, Sportsnet: 110,000
20. NBA, Lakers at Thunder, Saturday, TSN: 106,000
* Viewers on U.S. channels not calculated
** 3 channels only
LOOKING SOUTH: There's nothing like a great playoff round to stir up interest, even south of the border. The NHL reports that Sunday's events produced the busiest day ever on NHL.com. The weekend was a good one for NBC, too. Its weekend games earned 1.3 overnight ratings, up 8 per cent over last year.