Photo via the CBC
Good morning sports fans!
It's been a crazy few days and lots to talk about, so lets get started:
"It is Rogers saying we heard you, hockey fans, so on Saturday night – the first of the 2016-17 NHL season – MacLean will be back where generations of Canadians watched him for 27 years. The unspoken plea? Please forgive us and come back to try on that comfortable old sweater."
That from David Shoalts in the Globe and Mail as Ron MacLean is back to his desk on Rogers Hockey night.
Let's get a few things straight shall we?
Rogers fumbled the ball in many ways, they completely misread the market in every which way, but the ratings that exploded through the ground had next to nothing to do with the host. For the few people who say that they did not watch because of Strombo, I think you you represent the small minority.
The fact of the matter is it was a complete perfect storm for Rogers with several factors shooting ratings.
First and foremost, the mere fact that the Canadian teams sucked all at the same time was primarily a driver of people tuning out. I am sorry Canada, but Leaf fans can make or break the ratings and two years ago the team was not only bad but it was hated. They were a deplorable bunch and fans wanted nothing to do with them. The biggest problem? They didn't complete the job and finish last. Last season it was a better group, however they DID finish dead last. Add to that superman going down in Montreal, the other teams being nowhere near the playoffs and, well there ya go there is no reason to watch.
Winning cures all.
Add to that the arrival of Matthews and other young players will increase interest.
Unfortunately, there is no scientific test here. The Leafs (and other Canadian teams) have improved their rosters. These teams will be at least interesting to watch, if not better.
Irrespective of who is on TV, the ratings will raise and sink with the performance of the teams.
The Leafs ratings will be higher provided Matthews remains a topic of interest. (a 4 goal game in game 1 is a hell of a start, NBC's sports network is picking up tonight's game).
Love them or otherwise, to fault the talent that was let go from Rogers hockey should ratings go up this season is completely devoid of fact. For what it's worth I am neither a fan of MacLean or Strombo as it relates to hockey. Next to the former morning hose on TSN radio and the current host on the Fan, MacLean (based on emails I get about this website) is the most divisive member of the sports media talent world in Canada.
I think what's been lost in many parts of the discussion is that sports TV ratings are down almost everywhere. With the Blue Jays being the unicorn, the rest of the sports world is getting destroyed in terms of ratings. The NFL is without question the world's biggest entertainment machine and their ratings are down. MLB? (excpet Canada and Blue Jays) ratings are down. NBA??? Olympics (in the USA) the ratings are down. The belief used to be that the "kids" were streaming games and therefore the TV ratings were down. Only problem is the streaming numbers are not exactly great; more importantly the streaming numbers do not represent even the dip in traditional tv ratings.
The question is, where has the audience gone?
Part of the problem I have is that pro sports teams do not accurately report attendance numbers. I know the why, but the fact that over 50% of NFL teams report attendance numbers that are over 100% of capacity tells me there is a reporting problem. Tickets sold, number of people through turnstiles, season tickets, walk ups….there is no OFFICIAL standard. Teams aren't even being 100% truthful on capacity, at least not in terms of what I've always believed capacity means. If they were no team would have more than 100% attendance at an event. Sorry, it seems like an over simplified position, but if the stadium really holds 50,000 people, you can't report 50,001.
"Male millennials (ages 21 to 35) watch esports as often as baseball or hockey, with each activity claiming 22 percent of men from that age group as fans."
That via Venture Beat. While one statistic alone should not be given too much weight, it's at least the first one I've seen that makes sense. If the younger generation is spending more time watching Esports than traditional sports this is a HUGE challenge for all leagues and networks, online or otherwise.
BTW, this is not a new challenge for MLB, this is something that's becoming a trend.
The conclusion for now is that to those of us who care, the trends are concerning.
The news with the Blue Jays is more encouraging:
"The Rangers-Blue Jays ALDS was hardly a ratings' hit with Dallas-Fort Worth viewers. Challenged by a scheduled that included two weekday games and a Sunday night game that went up against the Clinton-Trump debate, the three games averaged a relative paltry 5.8 rating. That's down more than 30 percent from last season's more competitive 5-game elimination by the Blue Jays which averaged an 8.4."
No, not that news. This kind of news:
"But while the team's series-clinching win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday averaged a whopping 4.73 million viewers on Sportsnet is impressive, it's kind of what you'd expect for such a big event. That game's audience, for example, peaked at 7 million in the decisive 10th inning — about the same number that watched Andre DeGrasse and Usain Bolt duel it out in the 200 metres at the Rio Olympics." that via Yahoo!
More than 4.7 million Canadians watched the #BlueJays beat Texas on Sunday night to clinch the ALDS.
Just a massive TV ratings number. pic.twitter.com/TXAZjW7QjW
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) October 11, 2016
While I dont have them specifically, I am told hte radio ratings for the Jays were off the charts too.
Speaking of radio, I've become addicted to the Podcast Addict App. It's made listening to sports radio some much more enjoyable and productive.
Couple of thoughts:
Bob McCown and Damien Cox have been fantastic of late. On the Jays especially, but I was really impressed with the coverage on Matthews 4 goal night. Lots of times media members make too much of small things, but McCown recognized this for what it was and gave it it's due. If you haven't listened to it try to find the segment with Lou talking Matthews. On the Jays side, their interview with Ross Atkins on the Jays roster selection was terrific. Kudos to Madani for serving in a perma role too.
The day after the Jays beat the Rangers I tuned into the Fan morning show. Sorry foks, it remains un-listenable to me. Over I flipped to TSN and I caught Mike and Mike… LOL, the biggest morning in Toronto in, well a long time and TSN had no one on air due to Thanksgiving.
It’s not like the Jays snuck up on them. They could have easily brought someone in. Bad management decision. No faith in their bench talent https://t.co/erCNaasAWM
— mike_in_boston (@mikeinboston) October 10, 2016
Mike was impressed!
One of the joys of podcasting radio, I can listen to both Hockey Cental at Noon and Leafs lunch. Both equally entertaining for different reasons.
What would a week look like without some bad Twitter right?
Not much funny about this, parody or not:
— Don Taylor (@fakedontaylor) October 13, 2016
and Bruce Arthur and Al Strachan kept us entertained too
@winsford99 Al Strachan, making shit up to suit his toxic agenda? Why I never
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) October 13, 2016
That's all for now.. Happy Toronto Sports!