The Great Canadian Ratings Report: World Cup exits CBC with a bang

This is getting to be a familiar refrain for the CBC.

The public network hails a ratings victory while saying goodbye to the very property that produced those huge audiences -- and presumably increased profits. After bidding adieu to the NHL following a successful playoff run this spring, here's the CBC waving the flag for a boffo World Cup -- an event they won't have for at least 12 years.

Oh well, at least the corporation went out with a bang.

The numbers are impressive:

Sunday's final averaged 4.9 million viewers on CBC, making it the most-watched soccer final ever. More than 11.3 million people -- basically one in three Canadians -- watched some or all of the final between Germany and Argentina (hold the World War II jokes.)

Almost 60 per cent of all television-watchers on Sunday were tuned in to the World Cup. That's the kind of number you normally see for an Olympic hockey final.

Average ratings averaged 1.7 million viewers, a 39 per cent increase over the 2010 event in South Africa. Even with the five-hour time difference, that's a huge jump.

Traffic to CBC’s World Cup webpage showed a 45 per cent increase in page views over 2010 and 51 per cent in video views. Interestingly, 33 per cent of new Canadians watched games online as opposed to 19 per cent of the total population.

Sadly for CBC, all this increased interest in soccer at the international level will benefit the competition. Bell Media, CTV and TSN, have the rights for 2018 and 2022 and could top those viewing numbers even though the time zones won't be as favourable (Russia and Qatar.)

The World Cup is an event that just keeps growing and with TSN freed of the NHL (okay, bereft of the NHL), there should be plenty of promotion to drum up interest.

Here are the most-watched English-language sports events on Canadian television for the past weekend, according to BBM Canada overnight ratings:

1. World Cup final, Germany vs. Argentina, Sunday, CBC: 4,930,000
2. World Cup, Netherlands vs. Brazil, Saturday, CBC: 2,300,000
3. CFL, Lions at Roughriders, Saturday, TSN: 819,000
4. CFL, Blue Bombers at Alouettes, Friday, TSN: 615,000
5. CFL, Stampeders at Argos, Saturday, TSN: 562,000
6. MLB, Blue Jays at Rays, Friday, Sportsnet: 555,000
7. CFL, RedBlacks at Eskimos, Saturday, TSN: 549,000
8. MLB, Blue Jays at Rays, Sunday, Sportsnet: 436,000
9. MLB, Blue Jays at Rays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 430,000
10. Auto racing, NASCAR New Hampshire 300, Sunday, TSN: 262,000
11. Cycling, Tour de France, Sunday, Sportsnet: 180,000
12. MLB, Yankees at Orioles, Sunday, Sportsnet: 139,000
13. cycling, Tour de France, Saturday, Sportsnet: 122,000
14. PGA, John Deere Classic final round, Sunday, Global: 118,000
15. PGA, John Deere Classic third round, Saturday, Global: 111,000


Bobcat Unplugged: When a network devotes a 90-minute documentary to one of its employees, you have to take it all with a rather large grain of salt -- or maybe a truckload. Or, in this case, a pant load. But despite the incestuousness of it all, Pantload: 25 Years of Prime Time Sports, is a pretty entertaining look at sports radio king Bob McCown. It's a tad long -- McCown would have cut these guys off early if they were on his show -- but his fans won't mind. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet.

Blimey time: The only winter golf tournament held in summer -- the Open Championship (aka British Open) -- is one of the highlights of the golf season and this year is no different. Wind will likely blow and rain will surely pelt at England's Hoylake course. Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose are the favourites, though all eyes will be on the struggling Tiger Woods. Coverage starts daily at dawn beginning Thursday on TSN. The final round coverage tees off Sunday at 6 a.m. ET

The real roaring game: While beleaguered Toronto commuters are already cursing the latest disruption on their roads, auto racing fans will flock to Exhibition Place this weekend for the Toronto Honda Indy. The best on the IndyCar circuit, including Canadian James Hinchcliffe, will take a shot at the doubleheader race. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, Sportsnet.