Canadian Sports Ratings Update: January 12, 2012

Here are the ratings for the past week. Lots of interesting numbers, including the BCS Championship Game. What is possibly most interesting is TSN didn’t issue a press release with World Junior medal round ratings. They must have really fizzled after Canada lost to the US in the semis.

CIN-HOU, Jan 5, CTV: 1.1 million
MIN-GB, Jan 5, CTV: 1.06 million
IND-BAL, Jan 5, CTV: 1.153 million
SEA-WSH, Jan 5, CTV: 1.525 million

N. ILL-FSU, Jan 1, TSN: 218, 000
ALA-ND, Jan 7, TSN: 519, 000

POR-TOR, Jan 2, TSN: 228, 000
SAC-TOR, Jan 4, TSN: 209, 000
BOS-ATL, Jan 5, SN: 49, 000
BOS-NY, Jan 7, SN: 51, 000
TOR-PHI, Jan 9, SN: 163, 000

A few interesting notes about the NFL rankings. Minnesota-Green Bay couldn’t even hold the entire Cincinnati-Houston audience even though it followed in primetime with no competition really. Saturday ratings are up from last year though. Cincinnati-Houston, in the same timeslot two consecutive years, increased by about 200, 000. Minnesota-Green Bay drew an equal audience to New Orleans-Detroit last season. This all becomes less impressive when you consider that 2 million viewers watched a Leafs game on Wild Card Saturday last year. Certainly appears those viewers didn’t switch over to football this year.

Sunday ratings as a whole are about on par with last season. The early game was up by about 100, 000 this year, while Seattle-Washington was the only slot to suffer a decrease from last season (of about 100, 000). For everyone who likes to compare with the CFL, the Sunday NFL games averaged 1.52 million viewers, while the CFL Divisional games in November averaged 1.35 million viewers on TSN.

Also, in hockey news, a Sportsnet Hockey Central special actually beat TSN’s That’s Hockey 2 Nite on Tuesday, by about 1000 viewers. The two specials aired head-to-head at 9:00pm ET. 80, 000 watched Sportsnet, while 79, 000 watched TSN. On Sunday TSN’s specials attracted averages of 138, 000 in the morning (over 5 hours); 58, 000 between 9-10pm ET; and 103, 000 for SportsCentre between 10-11:30pm ET.

23 thoughts on “Canadian Sports Ratings Update: January 12, 2012

  1. Regarding CFL-NFL numbers could that be because the NFL is on CTV’s main network and therefore gets the growing OTA viewer as well? While the CFL is confined to cable – satellite only and has pretty well blocked out all internet views except the ones with Bell.

    • Maybe slightly true, but I think it could be argued many sports fans subscribe to TSN. I’d say the difference between the too is close enough that you can’t draw too many conclusions.

      As for the internet, those aren’t included in the TV ratings. Since TSN streamed the NFL games, but not the CFL games, one could argue that NFL TV ratings suffer from streaming, not CFL ratings.

      • My argument is that perception is reality and there is a perception out there that since the CFL is not on a main broadcast network then somehow it is bush league. I truly believe that the only way to counteract this is to have the CFL on a main broadcast network. If I was the league commissioner I would insist at a minimum that the Grey Cup (I would push for the playoffs and a game of the week) is on CTV. CTV should be showing the CFL the same respect that they show the NFL.

        (This could be a double post, I lost internet connection just as I posted my previous response)

        • I don’t see the same perception, to be honest. More and more sports events are exclusively on pay TV. Look at the Premier League in England. Been exclusively on Sky for 20 years now and is stronger than ever. Same for college football’s BCS in America. Could also argue it for curling and Jays baseball. I don’t think anything airing exclusively on TSN makes it look bush league considering it is easily the #1 pay TV channel in Canada and on many nights competes with (or even beats) Citytv and CBC.

          The only thing that makes the CFL look bush league, rightly or wrongly, is that is essentially a league of NFL rejects. I don’t view it that way, but many do. Airing games on CBC or CTV won’t fix that. In fact, if anything, the increased cost that TSN is willing to pay will allow teams more money to spend on players.

          • I guess we have to agree to disagree. As for the Premier League; who do they have as competition in the UK? Nobody.
            The CFL? They have that massive monster called the NFL. Big difference in my mind.

            Love your website. :)

    • I always find it strange when people “compare” NFL to CFL playoff ratings. These are at two completely different times of the year, one is on cable while the other on broadcast, and the NFL faces little sports competition during this time of the year. I can understand comparing regular season ratings, during the same time of the year, on similar networks. But who compares events four months apart? The comparison is even further difficult to make when you recognize that the CFL playoffs directly compete against the NFL regular season, and the heart of the fall television schedule (there is a reason CTV put the Pats/Texans on TSN, they had the Golden Globes on; this kind of thing happens nearly every week during the fall).

      If the CFL playoffs faced relatively no competition when they were broadcast as the NFL playoffs do, how would they fare? Like the false Superbowl/Grey television numbers comparisons– different time of the year, different networks, completely different competition (does anyone put sports on opposite the SB? In 2011, not only did the GC have NFL competition, the Ottawa Senators even had a game on during the game), it stretches credibility to do so.

      • It’s a natural human reaction when you see two numbers to compare them to one another, even if the numbers aren’t always the same. Just the way our brains are wired.

        Furthermore, I don’t agree with the premise that the GC and SB can’t be compared with one another. I don’t get the calendar argument at all. The two events are only 10 weeks apart, and both on Sunday with roughly the same start time. I don’t know of any reason why Canadians would be less predisposed to watching television in late November than early February. Also, how is that unfair to compare but somehow the regular season are not when they have the same offset (July-Oct or Sep-Dec)?
        The TV season runs straight from late September till May, both leagues are affected by it (exception is the SB itself which I’ll get to later). What major awards shows are on every week in the fall? Only one I can think of is the Emmys which is on Sunday night when the CFL doesn’t play
        The Cable/Broadcast difference is really overstated when you consider the penetration rate of TSN+RDS is over 90% of the general television audience and even higher when you look at the subset of just even a casual sports fan who would watch either of those events. Plus PPMs capture out of home viewing and major events are more likely than normal TV shows to be consumed elsewhere in groups.

        It’s true that no network or league does any counter-programming to the Super Bowl but what good would that do? It’s because the event is such a behemoth that no one wants to burn something new which would get 60% of the normal audience, and that’s probably being generous. Besides, events on this scale take up all the oxygen in the room and counter-programming plans are futile at that point. It doesn’t stop many, if any, from watching the game. Case-in-point, the NHL wasn’t playing last year and the Grey Cup was watched by less Canadians than the 2010 matchup when the league was.

      • I think Mike is spot on here. Comparisons between NFL and CFL work well because the Grey Cup and Super Bowl are two of the biggest single-day events in Canadian TV. Really only the World Cup Final compares (Olympic hockey final is far ahead). It’s better to compare the ratings than do absolutely nothing with them. Especially trends (and NFL vs CFL trends) from one year to the next.

        • But isn’t this the whole point? The NFL playoffs and SB do not face any competition, while during the CFL playoffs and GC there are all kinds of first run programs directly competing with those television events. In 2010 the most watched television day in Canada (according to BBM numbers) was the GC day– not because of the Grey Cup itself (which obviously helped), but because there was so much on TV that day, including top-rated programs like “The Big Bang Theory” and other sporting events like the NFL. The SB day was well below that in total viewers. In other words, with so much less competition, it makes sense that the SB was able to generate so many more viewers: Sports viewers who might normally watch something else (say there was a hockey game on in Canada– would that affect viewership, likely), and the casual TV viewer who is not a sports fan, but with nothing else on, would watch the SB. If they were on directly against one another, or at least faced the same competition, that would be worthy of comparison. Otherwise, you’re stretching things. Sure, it makes for a nice facile comparison, but anyone who digs into it realizes that its apples and oranges.

          This is why all the “sports media commentators” usually downplay the actual direct comparison– NFL v. CFL ratings during the regular season when the two leagues overlap (or when games are on directly against one another).

          • The one other thing I forgot to mention from CSM’s original post was how poorly Raptors ratings are, even with the hockey lockout. Curling beats them on a regular basis!

          • ??? Now you are really losing me.The first two rounds of the CFL playoffs are on in the afternoon on Sundays where there are 0 first run network programs on. The Grey Cup did face some competition but it wasn’t from Sheldon and Leonard since Big Bang is aired on Thursday and I would think that the final day of the Vancouver Olympics would be the most watched day in 2010 with the Men’s Hockey Gold Medal game and the closing ceremonies.

            Also, the NFL playoffs games DO face competition. This past weekend saw new programming aired in primetime against the games being played. The Super Bowl is a special case but as has already been explained any competition against it would do virtually nothing. TV audiences are not a fixed number that just gravitate to whatever is new on; it’s dynamic that can tune in or out based on their interests (you indirectly made this point when you brought up total day Grey Cup and Super Bowl audiences).

            In any case, it’s worth noting that the difference in audience for the two most recent games was 2.5 million viewers in Canada. These excuses you keep throwing up are frankly grasping at straws and do nothing to explain such a large gap.

          • Big Bang doesn’t, and has never, aired new episodes on Sunday.

            Fact is, the Super Bowl and Grey Cup will never be directly comparable if the criteria you use it them airing on the same day. One could argue that one Grey Cup to another is not comparable using your analysis. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthwhile to compare the two, or one Grey Cup to another. They both have their benefits and drawbacks and there really is no way to mathematically account for programs on other TV stations. Besides, I was comparing round 1 to round 1 of the playoffs. Both on Sunday afternoons against no new primetime programming. And not as though NFL faced no competition, Raptors and curling were on Sunday afternoon.

            I don’t see how you think the regular season comparison is any better. CFL is at week 10 (or so) by the time NFL starts. Most people take more of an interest in a sport as the season progresses (unless their team is terrible, I guess). I think playoffs to playoffs and championship to championship is a more accurate comparison than a late season CFL game to an early NFL game. Not to mention that its an imperfect comparison anyway considering NFL is available on TV.

            I think you’re reading way too much into it anyway. Its not as though I’m trying to take shots at the CFL (or NFL) by making these comparisons. They are essentially the two leagues that fight to be the most watched, aside from NHL in Canada. Trends are meaningful, hence why I posted last year’s NFL numbers as well. One thing you can compare is the difference in last year’s ratings and the difference in this year’s ratings.

            And it should be no surprise that curling consistently beats the Raptors. It’s been that way for a long time. Curling consistently gets ratings that fall only behind NHL, NFL, CFL and Jays.

            • The first two rounds of the CFL playoffs directly competed against NFL regular season games, not first run programming. I wrote first run programs “like” Big Bang, and only used that show as an example because it is the highest rated regular program on Canadian TV. CTV has a bunch of simulcast stuff that was on during the Grey Cup that was first run, that they will not pre-empt for GC.

              I meant 2011 in total viewership– an error on my part.

              Again, my point is that for some reason there is always a comparison made between NFL and CFL ratings, yet they are just sporting/television events (which are on at different times of the year, etc.). Its like comparing Blue Jays and CFL– imperfect, even though they are both on cable, overlap significantly in scheduling, and have about the same number of games per week when they do. Is it because NF/CFL are “the same sport?” Maybe we should start comparing MLS ratings with EPL ratings on a regular basis?

              • I compare CFL and MLB plenty in the summer. In fact I compare lots of sports ratings. I’d love to compare EPL and MLS, but those ratings aren’t easy to find. I do know that Sportsnet’s EPL games beat MLS on a regular basis. And it beats non-Raptors NBA games quite often too.

  2. Half a million for the BCS Championship is pretty solid.

    And some of those NBA numbers… *pulls on collar*

    • BCS was higher for Oregon v Auburn a few years back. But not bad at all considering it was over by halftime (audience peaked during the 1st half).

    • The numbers are solid compared to last year but 519,000 is less than half the ratings the 2010 Rose Bowl got. TSN had 613,000 viewers for that game and ABC must have had around 600K as well. So 500K for a BCS championship is not all that impressive when you put the numbers into perspective.

  3. I like TSN, but to get TSN HD with Rogers Cable costs extra, whereas Sportsnet HD is “free” (or included in the subscription).
    I always watch the HD when these guys compete on the same issue. Stop being so greedy TSN!!

    • But, and anybody feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, if you were with Bell you would probably get TSN HD including in your package and would have to pay extra for the Sportsnet channels.

      Considering there are a minimum of four (of six) Sportsnet channels available to you, and only two with TSN, I think you’re getting the better deal.

    • that’s not TSN but Rogers favouring their own Sportsnet and then being greedy with TSN since it is the most popular cable network. Not surprisingly TSN HD is offered on Bell as part of their main packages.

    • Yeah, that’s not a TSN problem. Rogers just wants to promote Sportsnet. On Shaw Direct both TSN and Sportsnet (as well as TSN2 and SN1 and a bunch of others) are in “HD Sports” for something like $7 a month. TSN, Sportsnet and SN1 in standard def are all in the basic package. The discrimination comes from the TV providers (Rogers and Bell TV), not the channels (Sportsnet and TSN).

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