Editor's Note: JohnnyG was riled up about the latest iteration of "maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs should get dropped from Hockey Night in Canada". So riled up in fact that he put together the cold hard numbers that should forever put this familiar hobbyhorse to rest. Imagine if the Leafs were good!
Recently there was an article in the Toronto Sun written by Rob Longley that surmised after speaking with Scott Moore (Executive Director of CBC Sports) via e-mail that the Leafs could possible be dropped from the HNIC national broadcast. I put up a fanshot on the article here. He deduces (with some sort of logic that I cannot comprehend) that the Leafs may be dropped due to falling ratings and then quickly backs that up with ratings numbers that show that they are the most watched sports show in Canada. This train of logic makes about as much sense as a Drunken Don Cherry Rant.
Well the article got me into a bit of a fight with a co-worker. I explained that I highly doubted that it was anything more then lip service given that the CBC will likely run the games that gives them the highest ratings. They argued that I could not possibly know that. I pointed out that it in fact happened multiple times in 2008-2009 that Toronto actually had a Saturday off. I am sure most of the members of this site can remember those Saturdays last December; we were all kinds of lost and bored on Saturday night.
In any case, I started out to find out proof of my assertion and with the help of blindfolded tank driver I was able to find a site that contained Rankings for Canadian Television. All of the ratings and viewership numbers were taken from www.bbm.ca individual links here, in the national archive.
A couple of notes before you look at the data. There are 27 Saturdays in the regular season in 2008-2009, 26 if you deduct the day off for the all-star game. In total there was 3 Saturdays in which the Leafs did not play (4 if you include the all-star game). Secondly I was going to include the 2nd HNIC game of the night in the calculation for a reference but unfortunately out of the 26 weeks they only made the top 30 lists 6 times, and anything outside of the top 30 was not recorded in the archives.
Full data table and summary notes after the jump.
|Oct 6-12||Week 06||1.323||Montreal @ Toronto|
|Oct 13-19||Week 07||1.31||Toronto @ Pittsburgh|
|Oct 20-26||Week 08||1.306||Ottawa @ Toronto|
|Oct27-Nov2||Week 09||1.021||New York Rangers @ Toronto|
|Nov 3 - 9||Week 10||1.568||Montreal @ Toronto|
|Nov 10-16||Week 11||1.376||Toronto @ Vancouver|
|Nov 17-23||Week 12||1.518||Chicago @ Toronto|
|Nov 24-30||Week 13||1.372||Philadelphia @ Toronto|
|Dec 1 - 7||Week 14||1.22||Washington @ Toronto|
|Dec 8-14||Week 15||0.942||NIL|
|Dec 15-21||Week 16||1.163||Toronto @ Pittsburgh|
|Dec 22-28||Week 17||0.9||NIL|
|Dec29 - Jan4||Week 18||0.84||Ottawa @ Toronto *|
|Jan 5 -11||Week 19||1.136||Toronto @ Philadelphia *|
|Jan 12-18||Week 20||1.075||NIL|
|Jan 19-25||Week 21||All Star Game = 1.516|
|Jan 26 - Feb1||Week 22||1.284||Pittsburgh @ Toronto|
|Feb 2 - 8||Week 23||1.372||Toronto @ Montreal|
|Feb 9 -15||Week 24||0.988||Pittsburgh @ Toronto|
|Feb 16-22||Week 25||1.833||Vancouver @ Toronto|
|Feb 23 - Mar 1||Week 26||1.141||Toronto @ Ottawa|
|Mar 2- 8||Week 27||1.428||Edmonton @ Toronto|
|Mar 9-15||Week 28||1.159||Calgary @ Toronto|
|Mar 16-22||Week 29||1.274||Toronto @ Montreal|
|Mar 23-29||Week 30||1.153||Boston @ Toronto|
|Mar 30 - Apr5||Week 31||1.209||Montreal @ Toronto|
|Apr 6 - 12||Week 32||1.027||Ottawa @ Toronto|
-- On Average the ratings for HNIC Game 1 are in the 1.228 million range. When the Leafs play it is 1.262 Million. When the Leafs do not play it is 0.972 Million. That means on average the CBC loses approx. 289,000 viewers when the Leafs do not play. That is a drop of almost 24%
-- Week 18 - January 3rd Lowest rated game of the season was played with Ottawa and Toronto. This is actually a fairly slow TV week as only 7 programs in all of Canada broke the 1 Mil viewership total during that week. Also worthy of note is that the Leafs game started at 7PM Eastern Time and the World Jr Hockey Team started at 7:30 which raked in 1.855 Mil Viewers. Clearly the Juniors and the Holidays had an effect on numbers
-- Week 25 - February 21st - Highest rated game of the season with 1.833 Million, this was a clear winner for a couple of reasons. 1, Vancouver and Toronto are two of the biggest markets in Canada. 2, It was Hockey Day in Canada. And 3, it was Mats Sundin's return to Toronto. You may remember? He scored the game winning shootout goal.
-- 2 out of the 3 lowest rated games of the year were when the Leafs didn't play which were really only saved by the fact that the world juniors it's a crazy popular event in Canada and it ruined the January 3rd ratings
-- Toronto and Ottawa was a horrible draw last year, this should not be a surprised to anyone that watched the game. The Battle of Ontario has become incredibly stale and boring since the playoff matches. They averaged only 1.0785 Million per game on Saturday
-- Toronto and Montreal as expected was a very good draw on average pulling in 1.3492 Million, I am sure the CBC wishes they could have a dozen of these games each year. (Go Go Crazy Grabbo)
-- The best part about all of this, is that the ratings from the games so far this year hover in the range of 1.6 to 1.75Mil. Which is of course higher then any game we had at all last year. The CBC is doing better with this team so far in the ratings they did vs. almost any single game from last year. That should tell you right away that they will not drop the Leafs.
So what does this all teach us? It tells me that CBC would have to be run by a bunch of Monkey's to drop the Leafs from the National Broadcast. While there is not much Data to go on in the small 3 game sample that we have. There is a clear sign that no Leafs = Less People.
So what do you tell people when they say the CBC favours the Leafs? You say Damn Right and for good reason:
" It's nothing personal, it's just good business".