The Great Canadian Ratings Report: Commonwealth Games hold their own

Chris Zelkovich
Chris Zelkovich

There was a time when the Commonwealth Games was a pretty big deal. Then again, there was also a time when the British Commonwealth was a pretty big thing, too.

In recent years, both have suffered. The empire isn't what it used to be and the Olympics have pretty much dwarfed all international competitions. But that's not to say the Commonwealth Games are a waste of air time.

The audience numbers aren't Olympian, but considering that the live competition starts at 3:30 a.m. ET every day, they are relatively strong. The CBC has shown all of its live coverage online with a daily highlights package airing around dinner time on weekdays and more coverage on weekend afternoons.

By the time the shows get to air, results have already been broadcast to those who care. It's not the best formula for grabbing the interest of viewers.

The results? So far, CBC reports 3.6 million people have tuned in to some of the Games' television coverage. Both weekend shows averaged more than 200,000 viewers, above what CBC normally draws for that time slot. Not Olympian, but nothing a promising note for the organizers of next year's Pan-Am Games in Southern Ontario.

The Commonwealth Games numbers show that there is interest in international competition, even if there aren't five rings involved.

DOG OF THE WEEK: Saturday's MLS game between Toronto FC and Sporting Kansas City drew a paltry 22,000 viewers to TSN2. Even by TFC's low standards for television, that's alarmingly low considering how much MLSE has invested in this team. It truly is a bizarre situation, with the team selling out its stadium but unable to attract flies to its TV product.

If anyone was hoping for a bump in interest after the World Cup, it obviously didn't happen. A Vancouver Whitecaps game on Sunday did better on the main TSN channel, but still failed to crack the 100,000 mark.

The answer: maybe the only ones who care are the 20,000 who show up at BMO Field.

Or maybe MLSE and the MLS need to find a better way to get their TV product noticed.

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

1. CFL, Bombers at Lions, Friday, TSN: 857,000

2. CFL, Argonauts at Roughriders, Saturday, TSN: 830,000

3. CFL, RedBlacks at Tiger-Cats, Saturday, TSN: 670,000

4. MLB, Blue Jays at Yankees, Friday, Sportsnet: 651,000

5. MLB, Blue Jays at Yankees, Saturday, Sportsnet: 570,000

6. MLB, Blue Jays at Yankees, Sunday, Sportsnet: 567,000

7. PGA, Canadian Open final round, Sunday, Global: 369,000

8. PGA, Canadian Open third round, Saturday, Global: 269,000

9. UFC, Lawler vs. Browne, Saturday, Sportsnet360: 249,000

10, Auto racing, NASCAR Brickyard 400, Sunday, TSN: 236,000*

11. Commonwealth Games, daily highlights, Saturday, CBC: 232,000

12. Auto racing, F1 Hungarian Grand Prix, Sunday, TSN: 216,000

13. Commonwealth Games, daily highlights, Sunday, CBC: 205,000

14. MLB, Dodgers at Giants, Sunday, TSN: 181,000

15. Cycling, Tour de France, Sunday, Sportsnet: 143,000

16. MLB, Orioles at Mariners, Sunday, Sportsnet One: 122,000

17. MLB, Red Sox at Rays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 116,000

18. Auto racing, F1 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying, Sunday, TSN: 108,000

19. MLS, FC Dallas at Whitecaps, Sunday, TSN: 99,000

* Audience for Fox not measured.

THREE TO WATCH

Wealth of medals: There's nothing that warms the heart of Canadians more than watching Canadians win medals. There's been plenty to warm the cockles of Canadian hearts in Glasgow as the XXth Commonwealth Games showcase the top athletes in the empire that supposedly the sun never sets on. You can watch live streaming every morning starting at 3:30 a.m. ET or daily highlights around 5:30 p.m. ET. Weekend TV highlight coverage begins at 4 Saturday and noon Sunday.

Jay days: After a bit of a rough patch, the injury-plagued Toronto Blue Jays are back in the race for both the AL East pennant and a wild-card spot. Considering their opponents this week are the struggling Boston Red Sox (Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET) and the dreadful Houston Astros (Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 7) this is the perfect time for the Jays to make up ground on the division-leading Orioles. All games Sportsnet.

Net gains: There are plenty of stars and a lot of Canadian content as the Rogers Cup opens Monday on two fronts. This year, the women are in Montreal and the men in Toronto -- with no apparent plans to meet, say, in Kingston. Canadian sensation Eugenie Bouchard leads the Canadian women's hopes against the likes of Serena Williams and Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova while Milos Raonic is the great Canadian hope to knock off Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Daily coverage starts Monday at 11 a.m. ET on Sportsnet.