The Great Canadian Ratings Report: Pan Am coverage unsatisfying, but drawing big audiences

The Great Canadian Ratings Report: Pan Am coverage unsatisfying, but drawing big audiences

You have to feel for CBC, even if you're one of those people who thinks it's an arm of the international Marxist movement and an unnecessary drain on taxpayers' wallets. (For the record, I am not one of those nor have I ever been a member of the Conservative Party.)

After all, the people's network planned record amounts of Pan American Games coverage and was flooded with complaints about the lack of coverage in the early going. So it adds 17 hours  to its television offerings and boosts its online streaming, and it still get complaints.

Like this one, from Canadian baseball legend Larry Walker:

CBC did make a deal with Cuban broadcasters to stream baseball online, but that didn't satisfy baseball fans -- who tend to be older and less inclined to watch things online.

Sadly, a great opportunity was missed to let Canadians watch one of the competition's greatest moments. The Stubby Clapp incident put the Pan Ams on the map the last time they were in Canada. This time, Stubby (or his successor, Pete Orr) didn't even get to the plate as far as Canadian TV viewers were concerned.

The Twitterverse lit up again Monday night when CBC didn't provide televised coverage of the gold-medal game in women's basketball. Canada's historic win over the United States was streamed online with a condensed version of the game televised on CBC beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET (CBC took a similar path with the baseball game Sunday).

The truth is that in this day and age, when every second of every competition during the Olympics is available either on TV or online, people expect the same thing to happen for every multi-sport event. With the Games in Canada and this country hauling in medals at a record pace, people have been caught up in an event that couldn't draw flies four years ago when the same Games were staged in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The truth is that it didn't make economic sense for the CBC to go that route for something like the Pan Ams, which despite Canada's big medal haul, isn't an A-list competition. The advertising dollars aren't there, the CBC is a financial basket case and with only one channel, it couldn't really give this Olympian coverage. To its credit, CBC contracted out its soccer coverage to Sportsnet, but there was little interest in the business to taking on more.

However, you do have to wonder why a non-television sport like taekwondo is carried live while sports such as rowing, canoeing and baseball get little more than highlight treatment. According to CBC, that decision was made by the Games organizers, so I guess we should be grateful they didn't include bowling in the must-see list.

Despite the economics of the situation, the bar has been set and woebetide any network in future that doesn't go whole-hog, either on TV or online.

The demand is obviously there. The Pan Ams dominated the sports ratings again, pulling in pretty impressive numbers for a midsummer event. Although people are complaining, they're also tuning in.

The un-Games stuff: The early season CFL ratings haven't overwhelmed anyone, but they're basically on par with last July. Like this year, those ratings were affected by some stiff competition -- the World Cup. ... Despite their recent swoon, the Toronto Blue Jays continue to attract big audiences. That should continue as long as the team is in contention.

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

1. Pan American Games prime-time coverage, Saturday, CBC: 914,000

2. Pan American Games prime-time coverage, Sunday, CBC: 870,000

3. Pan American Games prime-time coverage, Friday, CBC: 857,000

4. CFL, Lions at Roughriders, Friday, TSN: 755,000

5. MLB, Rays at Blue Jays, Friday, Sportsnet: 737,000

6. Pan American Games afternoon coverage, Saturday, CBC: 668,000

7. Pan American Games afternoon coverage, Sunday, CBC: 662,000

8. CFL, Blue Bombers at Stampeders, Saturday, TSN: 596,000

9. MLB, Rays at Blue Jays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 520,000

10. CFL, Eskimos at Redblacks, Friday, TSN: 482,000

11. PGA, British Open final round, Sunday, TSN: 370,000

12. Auto racing, NASCAR Energy 501, Sunday, TSN: 337,000

13. Pan American Games, women's soccer, Canada vs. Brazil, Sunday, Sportsnet: 289,000

14. Pan American Games late-night coverage, Sunday, CBC: 224,000

15. PGA, British Open second round, Friday, TSN: 199,000

16. PGA, British Open third round, Saturday, TSN: 189,000

17. PGA, British Open final round (early), Sunday, TSN: 180,000

18. Equestrian, Spruce Meadows Cenovus Classic, Saturday, CBC: 171,000

19. Pan American Games afternoon coverage, Friday, CBC: 157,000

19. Pan American Games late-night coverage, Friday, CBC: 157,000

21. MLS, Philadelphia at TFC, Saturday, TSN: 141,000

22. MLS, Whitecaps at Portland, Saturday, TSN: 132,000

23. Soccer, Gold Cup, Panama vs. Trinidad-Tobago, Sunday, Sportsnet: 127,000

24. MLB, Dodgers at Nationals, Saturday, Sportsnet: 122,000

24. Auto racing, IndyCar Iowa Corn 250, Saturday, Sportsnet One: 122,000


Run, Andre, run: For many, no multi-sport games really get going until somebody is running around a track, leaping over a hurdle or tossing something heavier than a breadbasket. The Pan American Games athletics competition gets rolling on Tuesday and continues through the week until the 100 metres final on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. EDT, CBC.) Canadian Andre de Grasse is expected to be there.

Canadian golf's great ghost: You'll be hearing the name of Pat Fletcher a lot this week, mainly because he was the last Canadian to win the Canadian Open. The fact it happened 61 years ago hasn't been lost on anyone, so expect a lot to be written about Graham DeLaet and David Hearn and their chances of beating the likes of Jim Furyk, Bubba Watson and Jason Day at the  Canadian Open. Coverage starts Thursday (3 p.m. EDT, TSN.)

Wheel excitement: The Tour de France wraps up with the obligatory whispers of cheating, and we don't mean using illegal oil on the gears. Everyone, as usual, claims they are riding clean. Uh huh. It all wraps up Saturday (7 a.m. EDT, Sportsnet.)