The Great Canadian Ratings Report: Blue Jays (yawn) continue to set ratings records

·Chris Zelkovich
Canadians are continuing to go ga-ga over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Canadians are continuing to go ga-ga over the Toronto Blue Jays.

To those few who have any idea what a broken record is -- hint: it involves a recording device known as a record -- this is going to sound like one. To those who don't, think of Eminem with the hiccups.

The Toronto Blue Jays are tearing it up on the TV ratings scene -- again. Ever since the team made a few big deals back in late July, it has pretty much blown away all competition for the eyeballs of those who love sports.

They were at it again on the weekend, breaking the 2-million mark on Friday night and topping the million threshold on Saturday and Sunday. The latter two, by the way, are usually considered precious time slots for Canadians and are usually spent at cottages and beaches -- not in front of a television set.

But, it appears, nobody can tear their eyes away from the Jays these days.

It was the most-watched series in Sportsnet's history, erasing the long-standing record set the week before when the same two teams met. You can bet that Sportsnet's ad sales staff has already circled the next Yankees-Jays series on its day-timers (see "record" reference for those who don't know what a day-timer is.)

Thanks to all this Jays madness, Sportsnet's broadcasts are now averaging 727,000 a game, up 24 per cent over last year.

And it's only August.

But the Jays weren't the only thing Canadians watched. The Rogers Cup put up some pretty impressive numbers on Sunday, with the finals averaging 290,000 viewers. That's a 60 per cent jump from last year.

The Parapan Am Games also did well. Prime-time coverage on Friday night hit 303,000 on CBC. That was well behind the Jays game, but not too far off the Toronto-Winnipeg CFL game (485,000) on TSN. Overall, CBC reports that the Parapan Am Games were watched by a total of 9-million people and that 2 million watched some or all of Saturday's closing ceremonies.

Equally impressive was the performance of Canada's women's basketball team, which usually plays in anonymity. Its Olympic-qualifying victory on Sunday averaged 259,000 viewers -- the kind of audience the Toronto Raptors are more than happy to get.

Just goes to show what a winner can do to ratings.

Here are the most-watched sports events on English-language television from the past weekend, according to Numeris overnight ratings:

1. MLB, Yankees at Blue Jays, Friday, Sportsnet: 2,030,000

2. MLB, Yankees at Blue Jays, Sunday, Sportsnet: 1,270,000

3. MLB, Yankees at Blue Jays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 1,230,000

4. CFL, Lions at Tiger-Cats, Saturday, TSN: 592,000

5. CFL, Redblacks at Stampeders, Saturday, TSN: 563,000

6. CFL, Argonauts at Blue Bombers, Friday, TSN: 485,000

7. PGA, PGA Championship final round, Sunday, TSN: 340,000 (CBS viewers not measured)

8. Tennis, Rogers Cup men's final, Sunday, CBC: 319,000

9. Parapan Am Games, prime-time coverage, Friday, CBC: 303,000

10. Parapan Am Games, closing ceremonies, Saturday, CBC-City: 298,000

11. Tennis, Rogers Cup women's final, Sunday, CBC: 261,000

12. Basketball, FIBA women's final, Canada vs. Cuba, Sunday, TSN: 259,000

13. Tennis, Rogers Cup women's semifinal, Saturday, CBC: 226,000

14. Auto racing, NASCAR Michigan 400, Sunday, TSNL 221,000

15. PGA, PGA Championship third round, Saturday, TSN: 203,000 (CBS audience not measured)

16. Soccer, Chelsea at Manchester City, Sunday, TSN: 203,000

17. Parapan Am coverage, afternoon coverage, Friday, CBC: 184,000

18. MLB, Nationals at Giants, Sunday, Sportsnet: 177,000

19. Tennis, Rogers Cup men's semifinal, Saturay, CBC: 166,000

20. PGA, PGA championship second round, Friday, TSN: 165,000

21. Parapan Am Games, afternoon coverage, Saturday, CBC: 133,000

22. Soccer, Arsenal at Crystal Palace, Sunday, TSN: 115,000

23. MLB, Athletics at Orioles, Saturday, Sportsnet: 112,000

24. Soccer, Manchester United at Aston Villa, Friday, Sportsnet 260: 105,000

24. Tennis, Rogers Cup men's semifinal, Saturday, Sporsnet: 105,000


Not par for the course: Here's something we haven't seen in a long time: a Canadian women's open golf tournament with a Canadian considered one of the favourites. After 17-year-old Brooke Henderson won her first LPGA event last weekend, basically blowing away a field of veterans, she is now considered a legitimate threat in every tournament she enters. A win would erase a four-decade drought for Canada. Coverage starts Thursday (3 p.m. ET, Golf Channel)

On the right track: Here's another thing we haven't seen in a while: a Canadian team with serious medal hopes at the world track and field championships. In addition to sprinter Andre De Grasse, distance runner Cam Levins, 800-metres specialist Melissa Bishop and hurdler Nikkita Holder are among those who have serious shots at medals. Coverage starts Saturday (4 p.m. local, CBC.)

To live and fight another Jay: And finally, another thing we haven't experienced in decades: the Blue Jays in a pennant race this late in the season. This weekend, they face the Los Angeles Angels, a team that is trying to catch the red-hot Jays for a wild-card berth. The series opens Friday (10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet.)


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