World Juniors on TSN major TV franchise

The CTV channel and the NHL Network to face off for audience eyeballs over the two-week tournament.

Hockey rivalries are usually between teams and cities.

Now Canadian TV has spawned one with TSN and the NHL Network set to face off over Christmas for local viewers of the World Junior Championships.

The TV ratings stakes are high: last year’s gold medal game between Team USA and Team Canada netted TSN 5.4 million TV viewers, the largest audience for the cable sports channel.

That also beat CTV’s Super Bowl audiences and makes the world juniors a major Canadian TV franchise.

The CFL’s Grey Cup game gets more viewers over one day, but the world juniors build over a two-week run.

It also helps that Canada dominates the annual competition.

Team USA last year ended Canada’s five-year gold medal run at the world juniors with a dramatic 6-5 overtime victory.

That has Team USA back this year as tournament favorite, with the Canadians as underdogs, when the hockey action starts Boxing Day from Buffalo, NY, and leading up to the gold medal game on January 5.

Besides on-air telecasts, TSN will live stream tournament games online and on mobile phones, and make the games available on-demand.

And the NHL Network, closely following Team USA, is to air in all 15 games in HD, and provide nightly re-caps.