The Great Canadian Ratings Report: Hockey, baseball make September sweet for Rogers

Team Canada's 5-3 win over Russia  in the World Cup of Hockey semifinal Saturday averaged more than 3 million viewers.
Team Canada's 5-3 win over Russia in the World Cup of Hockey semifinal Saturday averaged more than 3 million viewers.

With the exception of Shomi and its continuing worries about NHL ratings, these are pretty heady days for Rogers.

Thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays and World Cup of Hockey, Rogers properties are dominating the sports ratings in Canada. The Blue Jays, for example, averaged 1.53 million viewers a game in last weekend's series against the New York Yankees, with bigger numbers to come against Boston this weekend.

Assuming they make the playoffs, the numbers will get even bigger than that.

But while the Jays are producing smiles at Rogers headquarters, the World Cup of Hockey has to be making things even sunnier there. Saturday's semifinal showdown between Canada and Russia produced the biggest hockey audience in more than a year, with the game averaging 3.1 million viewers on CBC and Sportsnet. (Sportsnet got the bulk of those viewers and collects all the ad dollars.)

It remains to be seen if Canada's opponent in the best-of-three final (the ugly duckling Team Europe) can generate more interest than the Russians, but even if they don't there's a bright side to this for Rogers -- assuming Canada wins.

With the start of the NHL season only weeks away, nothing could boost interest more than a Canadian victory in this sporadic competition. Add in the arrival of some fresh talent and renewed hopes in places like Toronto and Edmonton (there's always renewed hope in Edmonton) and things might start looking up for Rogers after a pretty dismal NHL season.

At least, that's what the suits at the Rogers campus are hoping.

As for hoping, the CFL is hoping that some of the numbers it's seen the past two weeks aren't indicative of what's to come. While Saturday's Hamilton-Saskatchewan game did well (513,000 -- the second most-watched football game of the weekend), the Toronto-Ottawa game on Friday averaged a paltry 273,000 up against the Blue Jays.

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

1. World Cup of Hockey, Canada vs. Russia, Saturday, CBC-Sportsnet: 3,100,000

2. MLB, Yankees at Blue Jays, Friday, Sportsnet: 1,580,000

2. MLB, Yankees at Blue Jays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 1,580,000

4. MLB, Yankees at Blue Jays, Sunday, Sportsnet: 1,430,000

5. NFL, Steelers-Eagles/Seahawks-49ers, Sunday, CTV-TSN2: 632,000

6. World Cup of Hockey, Sweden vs. Europe, Sunday, CBC-Sportsnet One: 625,000

7. CFL, Tiger-Cats at Roughriders, Saturday, TSN: 513,000

8. CFL, Lions at Eskimos, Friday, TSN: 475,000

9. NFL, Early games, Sunday, CTV: 434,000

10. CFL, Blue Bombers at Stampeders, Saturday, TSN: 412,000

11. NFL, Bears at Cowboys, Sunday, TSN: 359,000 (NBC viewers not measured)

12. CFL, Argonauts at Redblacks, Friday, TSN: 275,000

13. MLB, Rockies at Dodgers, Sunday, Sportsnet: 234,000

14. Auto racing, NASCAR New England 300, Sunday, TSN: 215,000

15. MLB, Rockies at Dodgers, Friday, Sportsnet: 194,000

16. Soccer, Chelsea at Arsenal, Saturday, TSN: 138,000

17. Soccer, Leicester at Manchester United, Saturday, Sportsnet: 112,000

18. UFC, Cyborg vs. Lansberg, Saturday, TSN: 107,000


Transatlantic Showdown: It's not exactly the matchup anybody dreamed of, or expected, but it's Canada against Europe in the best-of-three final in the World Cup of Hockey. While technically it's Europe minus a whole bunch of countries, the continental crew might give Canada a run for its money. It starts Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, CBC and Sportsnet One) with Game 2 Thursday (8 p.m. ET, CBC and Sportsnet 360). A third game, if needed, goes Saturday (7 p.m. ET, CBC and Sportsnet 360.)

Wild finish: The Blue Jays, as they say, have their fate in their own hands as they try to hang on to a wild-card berth. A three-game series against Baltimore starts Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet.)

Team Europe, The Sequel: The Euros attempt to win their fourth straight Ryder Cup title when they tee of Friday (8:30 a.m. ET, TSN.) But like their hockey counterparts, this year's Team Europe is the underdog.