The Great Canadian Ratings Report: Raptors set record, but still can't top NHL draft lottery

Chris Zelkovich
·Chris Zelkovich
No wonder Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan is smiling. He won the NHL draft lottery and was part of the most-watched show on TV last weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
No wonder Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan is smiling. He won the NHL draft lottery and was part of the most-watched show on TV last weekend. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

``This town needs an enema."

-- The Joker, Batman

``This country needs a psychiatrist."

-- Chris Zelkovich, Yahoo

I'm not saying that Canadians are all crazy, but there is strong evidence that something is definitely off with the psyche of this country. Like, the rest of the world is Barack Obama and we're Donald Trump.

Prime evidence is the weekend TV ratings report, which presents a strong case for some sort of psychiatric intervention.

The most damning evidence involves the Toronto Raptors and the equivalent of a televised bingo game.

The Raptors set a record for NBA basketball in Canada on Sunday by averaging 1.53 million viewers on Sportsnet for their victory over the Indiana Pacers. That's good news, especially for a team that has struggled to draw viewers despite an impressive product.

But here's the part that makes you wonder about us: The Raptors game was not the most-watched sports event on TV last weekend. That honour, by about 40,000 viewers, went to the NHL Draft Lottery.

No, not the draft. The draft lottery. An incredibly long, drawn-out bit of television tedium. Unisom featuring guys in a 50 shades of grey suits.

If that isn't one of the seven signs of insanity, I don't know what is.

Adding to the case that could eventually land this country in an institution is the fact that the draft lottery outdrew the Stanley Cup playoff game that followed it.

However, that insanity is just what Rogers is counting on to get its NHL package back on track. If 1.57 million people will sit through that, just wait to see what happens when Canada's NHL teams get back on track.

It proves that the interest is there. It just needs to be prodded by some winning teams and good hockey.

As for the Raptors, this might be the kind of breakthrough they haven't seen since the Vince Carter days. A total of 4.4 million Canadians watch some or all of Sunday's game and the audience peaked at 2.6 million near game's end.

It outdrew everything else on Canadian TV that night, a first for basketball in this country.

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

1. NHL, Draft Lottery, Saturday, CBC: 1,570,000

2. NBA, Pacers at Raptors, Sunday, Sportsnet: 1,530,000

3. NHL, Penguins at Capitals, Saturday, CBC: 1,500,000

4. MLB, Blue Jays at Rays, Saturday, Sportsnet One: 1,100,000

5. NHL, Blues at Stars, Friday, CBC: 966,000

6. MLB, Blue Jays at Rays, Friday, Sportsnet: 873,000

7. NBA, Raptors at Pacers, Friday, TSN: 822,000

8. MLB, Blue Jays at Rays, Sunday, Sportsnet One: 691,000

9. NHL, Blues at Stars, Sunday, Sportsnet: 448,000 (NBC audience not measured)

10. NHL, Predators at Sharks, Friday, Sportsnet: 416,000

11. NHL, Islanders at Lightning, Sunday, Sportsnet: 388,000 (NBC audience not measured)

12. Soccer, Leicester and Manchester United, Sunday, TSN: 299,000

13. Curling, Champions Cup women's final, Sunday, Sportsnet One: 284,000

14. Auto racing, F1 Russian Grand Prix, Sunday, TSN: 225,000

15. Curling, Champions Cup men's final, Sunday, Sportsnet One: 215,000

16. Curling, Champions Cup semifinals, Saturday, Sportsnet: 209,000

17. Curling, Champions Cup women's quarters, Saturday, Sportsnet One: 180,000

18. Curling, Champions Cup men's quarters, Saturday, Sportsnet One: 156,000

19. Soccer, Manchester City at Southampton, Sunday, TSN: 154,000

20. Auto racing, F1 Russian Grand Prix qualifying, Saturday, TSN: 152,000

21. NASCAR, Sprint Cup Geico 500, Sunday, TSN: 146,000 (Fox audience not measured)

22. Curling, Champions Cup round robin, Friday, Sportsnet: 144,000

23. Curling, Champions Cup round robin, Friday, Sportsnet 360: 127,000

24. Soccer, Norwich at Arsenal, Saturday, Sportsnet: 122,000

25. NBA, Thunder at Spurs, Saturday, TSN: 114,000



The Heat is on: In this case, they're on as the Toronto Raptors next roadblock en route to NBA playoff heaven. Fresh off their thrilling (nail-biting) win over Indiana, the Raptors dare to go where no Toronto basketball team has gone before: to the conference final (Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, TSN.)

A gold, our kingdom for a gold: After Canada failed to bring home a championship from either the world juniors or women's worlds, the pressure is on a group of players whose teams weren't good enough to make the Stanley Cup playoffs. Led by Connor McDavid, Team Canada begins its quest for gold against the Americans Friday (9 a.m. ET, TSN.)

Soccer to `em: If you've missed one of the greatest sports stories of all time, better late than never. Leicester City, which overcame 5000-to-1 odds to win the English Premier League, gets to strut its stuff Saturday against Everton (Noon ET, Sportsnet 360).