TSN, CBC take turns on top with NHL broadcasts

Note: This is a corrected version of the story that ran in MiC earlier today.

The battle of weeknight National Hockey League openers saw TSN come out on top of CBC, with the sports specialty’s Oct. 3 season debut between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators luring 1.2 million viewers.

That’s far more than the 847,000 who tuned in to the rematch on CBC the next night – although a slight letdown after the first game is not out of the ordinary. That number is down from 1.2 million for the Ceeb’s NHL weeknight debut one year ago, involving the same teams.

CBC rebounded nicely, however, with Hockey Night in Canada‘s first Saturday night game – the Oct. 6 tilt between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, which brought in 1.3 million, up 200,000 from the same CBC Saturday match-up a year ago. The Saturday Hockey Night in Canada game ranked 15th on BBM Nielsen’s chart for the week of Oct. 1-7.

Last year, TSN’s season opener beat CBC’s by 100,000 viewers. This season’s TSN debut aired opposite high-rated Wednesday dramas, including sister station CTV’s Criminal Minds (2.1 million viewers) and Private Practice (1.2 million). The game, which the Senators won 4-3 in overtime, was TSN’s sixth-most-watched NHL broadcast ever.

RDS, meanwhile, was handed its largest audience of the season so far for its French broadcast of the Leafs-Canadiens game, nabbing 700,000 viewers. That’s up 6% from last season’s first Saturday game. RDS also attracted a solid 640,000 viewers for its weekday telecast of the Canadiens-Penguins match on Oct. 10, which peaked at nearly one million viewers.

‘We know that we can get more viewers when the Penguins are on, because of Sidney Crosby,’ says RDS spokesperson Philippe Malo, referring to the Nova Scotia phenom who plays for Pittsburgh, ‘but also because there are many francophone players on that team.’ The fact that RDS is now airing its games in high definition is a big advantage, adds Malo, who notes that the caster may have lost some of its French-speaking viewers on Saturdays to the HD English broadcast of HNIC on CBC.

From Playback Daily