Canadian Sports Ratings Update: February 12

Here are the latest sports ratings for the first third of February.

NFL
Kickoff Show, Feb 3, CTV: 3.196 million
SF-BAL, Feb 3, CTV: 6.447 million (+ 750, 000 on RDS)

Also worth noting that the postgame SportsCentre that aired on TSN, remember CTV didn’t really have a postgame show, averaged around a million viewers from 11pm-midnight on TSN. That is almost better than Motive, which had 1.23 million viewers on CTV.

NHL
MTL-OTT, Jan 30, RDS: 696, 000
BUF-MTL, Feb 2, RDS: 811, 000
BOS-TOR, Feb 2, CBC: 2.189 million
OTT-MTL, Feb 3, RDS: 1.052 million
CAR-TOR, Feb 4, SNO: 784, 000
BOS-MTL, Feb 6, RDS: 887, 000
WPG-OTT/EDM-DET, Feb 9, CBC: 1.054 million
TOR-MTL, Feb 9, CBC: 2.408 million
CGY-VAN, Feb 9, CBC: 1.473 million

NBA
MEM-OKC, Jan 31, TSN: 76, 000
DAL-GS, Jan 31, TSN: 26, 000
LAC-TOR, Feb 1, TSN: 309, 000
BOS-TOR, Feb 6, SN: 141, 000

All numbers are BBM 2+ average minute audiences. Thanks to Bill Brioux and Whitey Fisk.

HNIC ratings have evened out after their above-average start. The Winnipeg-Ottawa game was down close to half a million viewers compared to their encounter on opening day. Toronto-Montreal was down almost a million. After a dip to under 2 million viewers on January 26, the Prime East game has now hit the 2 million mark three times in the first four weeks of the season. The Prime West game has also drawn at least a million viewers all but once.

But, as I said, audiences have leveled out. This year’s average Hockey Day ratings for the three games are even with last season’s numbers at 1.6 million. So, in English Canada at least, the post-lockout fad has gone back to the usual ratings. No word yet on how the rest of the CBC’s daylong celebration of hockey did.

Meanwhile a revitalized Canadiens team is great news for RDS in Quebec. Canadiens ratings are surging giving RDS multiple spots in the Quebec top 30 every week so far. Through February 6 (or 8 games), the Canadiens are averaging over 900, 000 viewers on RDS. Montreal’s numbers in Quebec (on RDS) are better than the Leafs in Ontario (on Sportsnet) so far. Of course Sportsnet has shown a very limited number of Leafs games so far.

CTV Cuts Out on Super Bowl Presentation

For the second time in two games CTV cut off an NFL postgame show just as former CFLer, and inspiration to the Ravens, O.J. Brigance appeared on the broadcast. It’s bad enough that CTV cut out on a guy who has ALS and is clearly one of the great stories of the Ravens’ Super Bowl run, but to make it worse they also missed the Lomardi Trophy presentation. That’s right. The trophy presentation of the most watched sports event in Canada was not on Canadian television. Instead for the second time in as many weeks CTV cut away from a trophy presentation to show regular primetime programming. And it neither case it was simulcast programming. There was really no rush for CTV to get to Anger Management or Motive.

Some will blame the CRTC for this, and honestly I don’t really want to start another simsub debate because they never go anywhere. So let’s take simsubbing completely out of this for a second because it really had no effect on CTV’s decision. Sure it resulted in some people missing the postgame show on CBS as well, but that wouldn’t be a problem if CTV had just stuck with the postgame show until the next commercial break. What happened is unacceptable for an official NFL broadcaster who spent 12 hours showing football programming on Sunday. Surely another five minutes wouldn’t have killed Motive’s ratings. I know the blackout messed everyone up (and almost certainly resulted in lower ratings for Motive and Elementary), but it’s not an excuse.

Ratings… The ratings for the Super Bowl show a continuing downward trend for NFL playoff ratings this year. An average of 6.447 million Canadian tuned in on CTV. For what its worth CTV’s press release said 6.6 million, that’s the number not including the power outage. An average of 763, 000 watched on RDS (also not including the power outage, presumably). An average of 5.5 million watched the Grey Cup on TSN last November. That was the most watched Grey Cup ever on English-language TV. The Super Bowl was well off CTV’s ratings for last year (7.3 million), but still more or less on par with 2011 (6.54 million). And, of course, perspective is important. Other than the Super Bowl, the Oscars was the only broadcast to hit 6.5 million in 2012.

In the post-Super Bowl battle, Motive averaged 1.229 million on CTV and Elementary averaged 548, 000 on Global. The delay likely affected both. That’s about a million lower than Elementary usually gets on Thursdays. I know Global missed the simulcast on Shaw Direct. Did this happen on other providers too, maybe?

Power Outage… The Superdome going dark was perhaps one of the strangest things ever to happen in a Super Bowl. And if the halftime didn’t kill all the momentum of the game, having another thirty minute delay certainly did. Of course the 49ers did bring excitement back into the game by closing the gap when the lights came back on, but the thirty minutes of unprepared mindless talk from CBS’s analysts was hard to get through. On the field Steve Tasker, usually an analyst thrown into Super Bowl sideline duty for CBS, was excellent considering the position he was in. He was the first back on air to inform viewers about what happened. He had real information while the studio painfully tried to fill time as “15 more minutes” became “15 more minutes”. I blame Craig Ferguson for the blackout.

Nantz and Simms… It’s actually pretty rare for a play-by-play to outperform an analyst, but I think it happened last night. Jim Nantz was the first to suggest that the Ravens take a safety because it could almost entirely run out the clock (I’ll proudly say I thought of it before Nantz said it). Simms disagreed. Apparently the 49ers were as shocked as Phil because the Ravens ran 8 seconds off the clock by running around in the endzone. The 49ers didn’t have enough time to run another offensive play after the safety.

But I think I need to rewind, because that wasn’t Simms only error. All he could offer up after the Ravens fake field goal was, “I’m not going to second guess the call.” What a second? Isn’t that his job? The Ravens had am opportunity  to go up three touchdowns and turned it down to let the kicker try to pick up nine yards; isn’t that a call that Simms should second guess? If the Ravens had lost by less than 3 points John Harbaugh probably would have second guessed it.

Later he offered up this gem, “Even if Kaepernick couldn’t run the football, he’d still be a top-five quarterback.” Now one could argue Kaepernick isn’t even a top-five quarterback when including his running ability (has Simms ever heard of Brady, the brothers Manning, Rodgers, Brees and y’know, that QB on the other sideline). I think its fair to say that based on his throwing ability alone, he probably isn’t even a top-ten QB in the NFL. Bill Cowher probably agrees. During the power outage he suggested putting Alex Smith in, which maybe was the only thing more confusing than Simms’ analysis.

But back to the final minutes. Maybe Simms was so terrible on the safety play because he was still reeling from the 49ers final offensive play minutes earlier. So was it holding or was it not, that was the question. And a really good one it was for Simms. At first he said it wasn’t, which is quite fine (I didn’t think it was either). But after seeing a few replays, he began to change his mind and offered, “The more angles I see, the more confused I get.” If anything the it is Simms job to clarify the viewers’ confusion? Simms should have offered a definitive opinion one way or the other. Or CBS should have had a rules expert to weigh in, as ESPN and FOX do.

My personal favourite Simms quote though, “I’ve heard it a thousand times this week, when the Ravens get inside the 20, they are going to try and score.” Well apparently it wasn’t true on the fake field goal (unless they preferred touchdowns). Three things I don’t particularly like. A commentator grossly overstating something for no reason. There’s no way he heard it a thousand times. And stating the obvious. And “try and score”. Unless they’re playing rugby and football, or something, that makes no sense. Maybe they were going to try to score.

I don’t mean to be overly harsh on Simms because he usually isn’t a terrible analyst. However, when I notice how bad someone was during the Super Bowl, when I’m so preoccupied with the game, the ads and the food, it means they were bad. I rarely bother writing about the broadcast because I rarely notice these things during the Super Bowl. I did this year. Partially because of the blackout and partly because of horrible Simms was.

Super Bowl XLVII — Full coverage details

Super Bowl XLVIIAnother year, another Super Bowl, another ridiculous amount of television coverage.

The Super Bowl Twister arrow has been spun around once again, and this year it lands on the blue circle of CBS, who today will provide coverage of Super Bowl XLVII (47), and will feature more coverage then ever, on and off the field. CTV and RDS will be provide English and French coverage respectively.

Here is a breakdown and timeline of today’s coverage from the plethora of networks covering the Harbowl™ from New Orleans. All times are Eastern.

  • 7am — NFL Network — First on the Field
  • 9am–5:30pm — NFL Network — NFL Gameday Morning
  • 10am–2pm — TSN — ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown
    • Chris Berman hosts the four-hour Super Bowl edition of Countdown from New Orleans with analysts Tedy Bruschi, Cris Carter, Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Ron Jaworski, Keyshawn Johnson and Jerry Rice. Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Young will join the show from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will also contribute reports.
  • 11am — CBS / CTV — Road to the Superbowl
    • Road to the Superbowl is NFL Films’ annual look back at the greatest sights and sounds of the 2012-13 NFL season. The one-hour special features the best of nearly 100 players and coaches wired for sound, focusing on the most exciting moments and the best teams on the journey to New Orleans.
  • 12pm — CTV — Road to the Playoffs
    • An inside look at the past season and how each team made it to the playoffs.
  • 1pm — CTV — Sportscentre’s Top 10 Super Bowl Moments
  • 1:30pm — CTV — Top 50 NFL Plays of 2012-13
  • 2pm — CBS / CTV — The Super Bowl Today
    • Originating live from three separate sites in New Orleans, CBS’ James Brown, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe, and Bill Cowher, along with Greg Gumbel, anchor the pre-game show previewing all the football and excitement leading up to Super Bowl XLVII. NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, reporters Lesley Visser, Steve Tasker, and Solomon Wilcots, will also cover the pre-game activities. CBS Evening News host Scott Pelley will interview President Barack Obama at 4:30pm from the White House.
  • 6pm — CBS / CTV / RDS — Super Bowl Kickoff Show
    • Alicia Keys sings the National Anthem as part of the pre-game festivities, and Jennifer Hudson sings American the Beautiful, joined by the Sandy Hook Elementary School chorus.
  • 6:25pm — CBS / CTV / RDS — Super Bowl XLVII
    • Jim Nantz will call his third title game (2007 and 2010) while Sunday marks the seventh Super Bowl for Phil Simms, which ranks him behind only John Madden among Super Bowl television analysts. Steve Tasker (Niners) and Solomon Wilcotts (Ravens) will serve as sideline reporters.
    • Beyoncé performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show.
  • 10pm — CBS Sports Network — Super Bowl Today Post-Game Show
    • CBS will air its first-ever extended post-game show. The show is scheduled to last an hour after the trophy presentation.
  • 10pm — NFL Network — NFL Gameday Final

RADIO: The Super Bowl can be heard on TSN Radio in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg; and Team 1410 Vancouver and Team 1200 in Ottawa.

ONLINE: For the first time ever, Canadians can stream the game online and for free on CTV.ca

CBS’ COVERAGE: CBS will have 62 cameras for the game (they usually use between 9 and 12 for a regular season game) including aerial cameras, unmanned cameras and five high-speed cameras. The high-speed “Heyeper Zoom” cameras capture video at a frame rate of 300–500 frames per second. CBS will also introduce a brand-new graphics package.

COMMERCIALS: Chances are you know someone (read: wife, girlfriend, etc.) who only cares about the commercials. Depending on where you live in Canada, and how or from who you get your television stations, the US commercials — that are nearly an entity as big as the game itself — won’t be seen on Canadian screens due to sim-subbing. It’s an issue that comes up so much every February, the CRTC has a webpage explaining why you won’t see them on CBS. There will be plenty of sites on the Interweb where you can view the commercials though.

WINNER: I’m a Green Bay Packers fan, so obviously I’d prefer to see an NFC team win it. Also, if I have to see that idiot Ray Lewis do his stupid Elaine Benes-type dance again, I’ll stab myself in the eye with a cocktail fork. Who you got?

EDIT by Josh: Might as well add in my contrarian view. I’ve got the Ravens winning 24-23. I’m a big fan of Ray Rice and Ed Reed, so that’s what is behind my choice. Also there’s OJ Brigrance, who’s a great story and has a Canadian connection (he won a Grey Cup). Would be fitting for Kaepernick to get it done after an incredible year for rookie NFL quarterbacks though.