Hope everyone had a good Christmas. It is a busy time of year for sports, with the World Juniors, Winter Classic and Wild Card NFL playoffs. Here is a quick recap of the ratings over the past week.
TSN once again boasted about record ratings for a World Junior tournament taking place in Europe. For Canada’s four preliminary round games, an average of 1.4 million viewers watched. The game-by-game breakdown was: Canada vs. Czech Republic, 1.75 million; Canada vs. USA, 1.74 million; Canada-Slovakia, 1.2 million; Canada-Germany, 755 000. The Boxing Day game was audience almost doubled over last year. The Canada-USA game was the most viewed program in Canada on New Year’s Eve, while the game against the Czech Republic was the highest ever for a group stage game played in Europe.
Due to new tournament rules, the first place team in each group now has to play a quarterfinal, instead of receiving a bye into the semis. As a result TSN aired an extra Canada game, with 1.6 million viewers tuning into the quartefinal vs. Switzerland. In other quarterfinal action an average of 752 000 watched the host Swedes play Slovakia. Despite Canada not playing a very close game in a semifinal loss to Finland, an average of 2.7 million viewers tuned in. This set a record as the most watched World Junior game at any European-hosted tournament. However, with the Canada loss, the numbers for Sunday’s medal games tumbled. An average of 1 million watched the final between Sweden and Finland.
While all of TSN’s World Junior records were asterisked with “among European-hosted tournaments”, the 2014 Winter Classic from The Big House set a record on TV. It is not only the highest attended hockey game in history, but also the most watched regular season game in Canada on record. An average of 3.57 million watched CBC’s four-hour broadcast as the Leafs defeated the Red Wings in a shootout. That almost doubled the previous high for a Winter Classic, when Pittsburgh and Washington played each other on a Saturday night in 2011. The previous high for a regular season game in Canada was last January’s season opener between Toronto and Montreal. The audience peaked at 5.3 million during the shootout.
Lastly, here are the numbers for CTV’s coverage of the NFL Wild Card playoffs over the weekend. On Saturday 997 000 watched Kansas City-Indianapolis and 1.1 million watched New Orleans-Philadelphia. On Sunday 869 000 watched San Diego-Kansas City and 1.6 million watched San Francisco-Green Bay. The average of the four games was 1.1 million. Those ratings are down as a whole compared to last season, when the average was 1.2 million. The AFC games were both down compared to last year, while the NFC games were about even. For those wondering about a comparison of Sunday’s NFL games and November’s CFL Division Semis, the CFL beat the NFL averaging 1.5 million.