Canadiens out with a bang on RDS

Almost every household in the country that gets the French sportscaster watched Montreal lose to Philadelphia on Saturday.

The Montreal Canadiens’ final outing against the Philadelphia Flyers is now the most-watched event on RDS, which ended its second-round NHL playoff coverage on a record-breaking note.

Almost every one of the 2.5 million households reached by the French-language sportscaster tuned in for Saturday’s game, which grabbed 2.1 million viewers as Montreal saw its bid for the Stanley Cup come to an end with a 6-4 loss (all numbers are 2+).

The end of the game peaked at 2.8 million viewers. The previous record holder was Game 7 against the Boston Bruins last month, which aired to an average 2 million viewers.

‘We’ve had extraordinary moments,’ comments RDS president and GM Gerry Frappier, who added, ‘The general increase we saw in playoff audiences confirms hockey is a real passion [in Quebec].’

CBC matched RDS’ numbers for the game at 7 pm on Hockey Night in Canada. The Canadiens-Flyers series averaged a solid 1.7 million on the pubcaster, while the New York Rangers-Pittsburgh Penguins match-up fetched about a million viewers.

Over on TSN, its second-round playoff coverage averaged 561,000 over 10 games, in line with last year’s numbers, although the specialty saw a 21% increase in the 18-34 demographic. TSN aired the San Jose Sharks-Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche-Detroit Red Wings series.

Coming up, CBC has exclusive coverage of the Eastern Conference finals featuring Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which gets underway Friday at 7:30 pm. The Ceeb will also broadcast Game 2, and, if necessary, Games 5, 6 and 7 of the Western Conference final with Detroit taking on Dallas. TSN will telecast the rest of the Western series beginning with Thursday’s Game 1.

Meanwhile, in another sport, the Toronto Blue Jays’ season got off to a good start on Rogers Sportsnet, which saw a 17% increase in viewers from 2007. Starting April 20, the Jays averaged 352,000 viewers, according to the broadcaster, with its home opener on April 4 against the Boston Red Sox nabbing 434,000 viewers. The average Jays game fetched around 300,000 viewers last year on Sportsnet.

From Playback Daily