Curling cracks the ice on records

Sweep! Sportscasters break records with championship matches, Ceeb ends CCA contract on ten-year high

CBC’s coverage of the World Women’s Curling Championship ended on a high note Sunday when the pubcaster scored a record-breaking 1.1 million viewers for the final in which Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones and her team defeated China 7-4. The event, held in Vernon, B.C., aired at 1:30 p.m. ET. (All numbers are 2+)

The number marks a 139% increase over last year’s game at 468,000, and is the highest audience for the event in the past 10 seasons. The second-highest game was in 2000, when 741,000 viewers tuned in to see Canada defeat Switzerland.

On Saturday, the semifinal at 2:30 p.m. ET brought in 817,000 viewers, compared to 105,000 last year. However, the event in 2007 was held in Japan and, due to the time difference, aired at 7 a.m.

TSN also broke its own records with the 2008 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship audiences.

The championship was the network’s most-watched World Curling event ever, with an overall average audience of 381,000 viewers, while prime time telecasts averaged 487,000 viewers. The most-watched telecast was Friday evening’s Page Playoff game (March 28), which drew 613,000 viewers as China defeated Canada 7-5.

The previous high for a World Curling Championship on TSN was 366,000 viewers in 1996. had live coverage of 6 World Curling Championship draws, while all 13 draws were available on demand. The website averaged nearly 8,000 unique visitors per draw, marking a 160% increase over last year’s World Curling Championship.

CBC’s mid-March curling numbers hit the Top 30 programs in Canada. The World Men’s Curling Championship hits the Ceeb on April 12 and 13.

Meanwhile, CBC’s annual special Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister experienced a downslide for this year’s edition which aired Sunday, March 23 at 7 p.m. The show drew nearly 400,000 viewers, which pales in comparison to last year’s 865,000. A CBC spokesperson admits ‘it’s a little lower’ than hoped.

CBC is gearing up for the season finales of homegrown laugher Sophie on Wednesday, while comedy series Air Farce will end its season on Friday. The two-part political miniseries The Trojan Horse, starring Paul Gross and Greta Scacchi, will conclude on Sunday.

A version of this story appeared in Playback Daily.