It was very successful opening weekend for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. From a CBC press release –
Saturday night’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators was a record-setter for CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA, with an average audience of 2.359 million viewers tuning in—nine per cent more than the previous record-holder for the first Saturday game of the season, set last year.
Ratings data from the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) show the game had a total TV audience share of 31.3 per cent, reaching more than 7.55 million Canadians, almost a quarter of the country’s population. The late game, which saw the Calgary Flames hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins, had a share of 17.5 per cent, reaching more than five million Canadians, garnering an average audience of just over one million viewers.
On Sunday, the first Winnipeg Jets home opener since 1996 drew an average total audience of 1.825 million Canadians.
The weekend numbers follow a tremendously strong start to the season, last Thursday, with the Molson Canadian NHL FACE-OFF pre-game show, attracting an average audience of 929,000 viewers—a 66 per cent increase over last year. That was followed by 1.935 million Canadians watching the classic Game 1 matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs—beating last year’s opening-game mark of 1.923 million.
(Source: BBM Canada, Total Canada, Preliminary Overnights, Ind.2+, 2011)
* Based on metered television audience data only
It will be interesting to see if CBC can keep up this momentum. With all seven Canadian teams on the schedule this weekend, there’s a good chance that CBC can post big numbers. While I hate to say it, the Don Cherry controversy is likely to help too. Everyone will be curious to see what he says which is one reason why CBC is willing to keep him on board. He still draws attention and eyeballs.