The annual NHL trade deadline day marathon produced some pretty impressive ratings for both TSN and Rogers Sportsnet on Wednesday, even though there were few trades of consequence. Of course, that's unless you consider the trading of Curtis McElhinney to be one of the most significant deals in NHL history. I guess it was to the McElhinney family.
Regardless, TSN averaged 184,000 viewers over 10 hours of pretty uncompelling programming. That's just about the number of people who watched last year, when things were a tad more interesting. Sportsnet's audience actually increased 19 per cent, to 85,000.
The online numbers weren't so encouraging. TSN saw its page view total drop 20 per cent to 12.8 million while Sportsnet's dived more than one-third to 1.7 million. Why such a drop? Nobody's really sure, but you might want to look at Twitter. Both channels had hockey guys tweeting away all day and you have to wonder how many people followed them rather than going to the websites.
Sportsnet had a good day with web streaming, seeing its streams more than double to 200,000. Meanwhile, TSN was thrilled with its mobile success as page views doubled to 500,000.
While 10 hours may be a bit of overkill, the fact is that trade deadline day continues to produce for the two sports channels. Unless the dearth of big deals is a trend, don't expect any reduction in coverage.
ROGERS KEEPS GROWING: The sports television gold rush continued this week with Rogers being granted a licence for a digital sports channel. All Rogers will say at this point is that the channel will air NHL and MLB games, European soccer and other pro sports. There's no indication when it will launch. While the channel might make a good home for its bucketload of English Premier soccer games, don't count on this being available anytime soon. There are a lot more licences floating around than there are channels. Rogers also has a baseball channel licence in its briefcase, one that's beginning to look a little mouldy. There's also a licence for a tennis channel in somebody's hands and the last time I checked there was no Canadian tennis channel. ... Boy, that didn't take long. When TSN2 launched 19 months ago it was basically a rerun channel, which isn't exactly a hot commodity in the world of live sports. But TSN2 is now the most-watched digital channel in the country. It ranks 21st overall among all specialty channels. Now that the CRTC regulations have been loosened and TSN2 can run more live sports, expect those numbers to improve even more. ... The Basketball Jones web offering is now officially part of The Score. The webcast will be carried across all Score digital platforms, including its Hardcore Sports satellite channel.