If you've been watching any TV lately, you've probably seen that commercial for Numeris, the one in which people asked to take part in Canada's television ratings system respond with a stream of angry words -- kind of like a Toronto Maple Leafs crowd.
It's a pretty amusing commercial, though I'm not sure anger is the usual response to TV ratings (Rogers executives excluded.) While those who do well in the ratings are often thrilled and those who don't fare as well angry, the normal reaction in the TV business is bewilderment.
That's because so many ratings are so hard to explain. For example, more than 2 million Canadians tune in to Bing Bang Theory every week, making it one of the most-watched series in history. How do you possibly explain that?
Then there was the recent NHL all-star game, which produced record low ratings for reasons few could fathom. And so it goes with last Saturday's Hockey Night In Canada early broadcast, which produced an average audience of 2.4 million -- the highest of the season.
One might argue that we're nearing the playoffs, so interest is rising. But this product featured two teams -- the aforementioned Leafs and better-not-mentioned Edmonton Oilers -- whose only activity during the playoffs will involve watching them.
And the rest of the package wasn't much more appealing. Yes, the Montreal Canadiens are flying high, but a game against New Jersey normally doesn't get the blood rushing. Neither do games involving the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Just to give you an example of how big that 2.4 million was -- it was just a couple of hundred thousand behind one of the entertainment world's blockbusters. The Grammies averaged 2.6 million on Rogers-owned City -- a record for that channel.
But you can be sure Rogers was neither angry nor puzzled in regards to these numbers. In a season filled with bad ratings news, they'll take this with glee. They also have to be thrilled with the Sunday night pre-game show, which drew an average of 305,000 after several weeks of failing to top the 200,000 mark.
And there just might be an explanation for this, outside of the attractiveness of the Boston-Montreal game that followed it. This version of Hometown Hockey was not in its usual spot on City, thanks to the Grammies. It was on Sportsnet -- a channel that sports fans know well.
There might be a connection. Or it could be just another ratings mystery.
Here are the most-watched sports events from the past weekend, according to Numeris overnight ratings:
1. NHL, Oilers-Leafs/Jackets-Sens/Devils-Habs, Saturday, CBC-Rogers: 2,400,000
2. NHL, Penguins at Canucks, Saturday, CBC: 880,000
3. NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC-Rogers: 691,000
4. NHL, Canadiens at Bruins, Sunday, Sportsnet: 631,000
5. NHL, Leafs at Devils, Friday, Sportsnet Ontario: 452,000
6. NHL, Hometown Hockey pre-game, Sunday, Sportsnet: 305,000
7. Curling, Ontario men's final, Sunday, Sportsnet: 298,000
8. NBA, Spurs at Raptors, Sunday, TSN: 285,000
9. PGA, Farmers Open final round, Sunday, Global: 266,000
10. Soccer, Man U at West Ham, Sunday, TSNL 261,000
11. NBA, Clippers at Raptors, Friday, Sportsnet One: 225,000
12. NHL, Penguins at Flames, Friday, Sportsnet West: 200,000
13. Curling, Manitoba men's final, Sunday, Sportsnet East/Ontario: 192,000
14. PGA, Farmers Open third round, Saturday, Global: 178,000
15. Soccer, Liverpool at Everton, Saturday, Sportsnet: 156,000
16. NHL, Blackhawks at Blues, Sunday, Sportsnet360: 151,000
17. Ski jumping, men's championship, Saturday, CBC: 135,000
18. Curling, Alberta men's final, Sunday, Sportsnet West: 127,000
19. Soccer, Arsenal at Tottenham, Saturday, TSN: 120,000
20. Figure skating, Skate Canada gala, Friday, TSN: 103,000
THREE TO WATCH
February sweeps: It's not only the biggest sporting event brought to you by a company that specializes in toilet paper, but it's one of the must-see events on the Canadian sports calendar. The annual Scotties Tournament of Hearts starts this week, with Ontario's Rachel Homan shooting for her third straight title. Coverage, which is definitely more than paper-thin, starts Saturday (3 p.m. ET, TSN.)
A day of hockey eh?: Has it really been 15 years since the CBC came up with a bold plan to stage an entire day of hockey, featuring Canadian-based NHL teams and hours of storytelling surrounding the game from the most basic levels? Kinda makes a guy feel old if he was there when the first one launched. And now No. 15 runs Saturday with three all-Canadian matchups and another one involving the seventh Canadian team. It all starts at 2 p.m. ET on CBC, Sportsnet and City.
On the beach: It's a weekend of must-see events, what with the annual Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, an event that features great vistas, great golf and celebrities trying their best not to look like complete duffers. Coverage starts Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel with TSN picking it up on the weekend.