Now here's a rarity on the summer sports scene: A Toronto Blue Jays game managed to draw more viewers than a Canadian Football League contest.
Granted, the CFL game was a dog with fleas, but still this doesn't happen very often. But as happy as the folks at Rogers Communications must be at seeing their team draw an average of 713,000 for last Friday's game against the Boston Red Sox, they have to be girding their loins for the viewer onslaught they will face Friday.
That's the next Jays game scheduled for Sportsnet One, the new channel that's available only on Rogers and to the 4,000 homes that subscribe to Cable Cable in Fenelon Falls, Ont. Yes, that breakthrough is the only cable deal Rogers has managed to secure for its new cash-grab channel, meaning more than half the country can't watch Friday's game at this point.
Sportsnet Junior's first week of Jays games drew flies, so you can be sure viewer outrage will be high as hundreds of thousands of Jays fans find that once again they've been shut out..
While Rogers is trying to get itself out of the mess it created with Sportsnet One, the CFL has to be a little worried about Friday's numbers. An age-old traditional rivalry between two teams based in the country's most populous region should be doing a lot better than 650,000 viewers -- even if it almost a touchdown-free game.
Here are the most-watched sports events on English-language televison over the past weekend, according to BBM Canada overnight ratings:
1. MLB, Blue Jays at Red Sox, Saturday, Sportsnet: 713,000
2. CFL, Tiger-Cats at Argos, Friday, TSN: 650,000
3. MLB, Blue Jays at Red Sox, Friday, Sportsnet: 558,000
4. MLB, Blue Jays at Red Sox, Sunday, Sportsnet: 441,000
5. Auto racing, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Saturday, TSN: 347,000*
6. NFL, Vikings at 49ers, Sunday, TSN: 267,000*
7. PGA, Wyndham Championship final round, Sunday, Global/CBS: 234,000
8. MLS, New York at Toronto FC, Saturday, CBC: 182,000
9. Tennis, ATP Cincinnati final, Sunday, TSN: 178,000*
10. PGA, Wyndham Championships third round, Saturday, Global/CBS: 171,000
11. Athletics, Diamond League track and field, Saturday, CBC: 149,000
12. Tennis, Rogers Cup, Friday, TSN: 137,000
* Viewers for U.S. networks not calculated