Friday, May 10, 2013

Early Canadian team exits will dent Cup ratings

Talk about offside. CBC sweats through a long labour mess, finally gets a half-season of  Hockey Night in Canada revenues back come January, and four big Canadian market teams make the playoffs. Happy days are here again.
A week or so into May and Canada's hockey broadcasters are back on their knees recovering from the latest elbow to the head. Vancouver Canucks out in four straight. Montreal Canadiens fini in five. The Leafs facing elimination tonight in Boston.
Ottawa will likely be the sole remaining Canadian city in the second round of the playoffs. Cue the Cinderella story, team of destiny hype, but, really, kiss those three million-plus audience numbers goodbye.
The early Canuck exit also stings TSN. They pulled 1,198,000 overnight viewers for Tuesdays final Canucks/Sharks game. When they show American teams such as the Capitols/Rangers Monday (268,000) or even Detroit vs. Washington the same night (554,000), the audience drops by 50% or more.
CBC will miss Montreal, with 2,078,000 watching Tuesdays tilt against Ottawa. Last spring, Cup numbers took a dive after the two Canadian teams to qualify for playoff action (Vancouver and Ottawa) were bounced in the first round.
Toronto, however, is the team CBC really wanted to go deep this year. Saturday's game drew 3,243,000 overnight viewers and Tuesdays Leafs/Bruins match pulled 2,805,000. If the Leafs could have gone on any kind of a roll, four or even five million viewers were possibilities. CBC may be running out of next year's for that to happen.
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