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-   -   The Great Canadian Sports Attendance, Marketing and TV Ratings Thread (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=228928)

Acajack Oct 6, 2022 4:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 9753235)
These are all fair points. I think it's worth mentioning that places like Boston have a number of successful NCAA programs whilst simultaneously being in an NHL market. Obviously there's a different culture surrounding NCAA programs and CHL teams, and different revenue levers, but it's worth mentioning that the NCAA can exist in this shared-NHL environment more than the CHL, at least in terms of this one specific example. I guess Minnesota and Michigan might be the only other two reasonable examples given the sheer number of NCAA programs in those states. Maybe Buffalo.

.

Americans are a lot better than Canadians are when it comes to appreciating different levels of spectator sports. It applies to hockey but also obviously football, basketball, etc.

It's not just NCAA vs. top-level pro BTW.

The "minor" pro leagues typically draw better in the US than in Canada as well.

They just have a better-developed spectator sports culture.

Acajack Oct 6, 2022 5:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 9753130)
TSN typically shows a few weekly NCAA hockey games in the leadup to the Frozen Four. It's really entertaining hockey and pretty good viewing - definitely better than CHL depending on the matchup.

I should add that NCAA hockey continues to expand, adding more and more programs each year. There are new D1 programs this season at Lindenwood (St. Louis) and Stonehill (Massachusetts) as well as Alaska-Anchorage returning from hiatus. I think there's now more NCAA programs than CHL teams, and if not then it's equivalent. One is growing and the other is not... :cowboy:

Is it really definitively better hockey?

One thing is that Americans are good at is hype. And believe me, I love the hype in sports too.

But typically NCAA hockey games have 2500-5000 people packed into a small arena, with many fans being young students as opposed to Vern who drove into town from the farm in his Dodge Ram. So the atmosphere is usually a lot better. That comes through even on TV.

esquire Oct 6, 2022 5:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 9753282)
Of course. My point was more that half of your examples of CHL teams in those NHL markets are directly owned by the NHL teams themselves. One of the two that aren't are in the process of moving to a smaller arena (67s) and the other (Olympiques) moved further away from the NHL team to get into a better market for their own team. I don't think a CHL team can exist in the same space as an NHL team and expect to continue on as usual unless they're owned and operated by the NHL teams they're competing against for eyeballs.

If the CHL does well in its 'traditional' markets is it because it's a compelling product or because there's no competition? Halifax will lead us to some sort of answer in the coming years.

How is this any different than the NCAA, though? The strongest college sports hotbeds are places that didn't have major league pro sports until relatively recently, if at all. Think of North Carolina for basketball, Alabama for football or North Dakota/Wisconsin for hockey.

Quote:

I think it's moreso that it's not moving into new markets or doing anything new whilst struggling to gain traction to do anything different than what they've been doing over the past 30 years. The Q successfully branched in the Maritimes in the 90s but since then have mostly been static - AFAIK both Baie-Comeau and Acadie-Bathurst are directly supported by their local municipalities in order to remain in those (declining) markets. I don't think it would hurt the league to cut four teams, honestly, given the level of play, but that's more of a discussion of quality and number of players available than business case. The OHL could probably lose two teams and not really bat an eye quality-of-play wise.
Quality of play should theoretically go up with fewer teams. I've heard it said that the WHL needs to yank a team or two to even things up with the OHL and QMJHL given that it has the most teams but doesn't typically perform well at the Memorial Cup. But none of the WHL teams are really suffering badly even in very small markets like Swift Current.

I don't think there are all that many new markets to move into in Canada... there are maybe a few cities in each of the three leagues that could potentially step up, but it would require new buildings and a lot of money. In the WHL, Lloydminster, Fort McMurray and maybe somewhere in the BC Interior (back to Cranbrook?) might be able to handle a team, but none of those are really slam dunks.

On a related note, I took a peek at college hockey attendance stats and they are not that dissimilar from CHL numbers. There are two teams that seem to draw around the 10,000 mark or over: North Dakota and Wisconsin, although the latter took a bit of a covid dip:

https://www.collegehockeynews.com/al...php?s=20212022

Sub in London and Quebec for those two and the rest of the numbers look pretty standard CHL-like. The top drawing New England team gets around 4,500 a game. Those are respectable, but not "taking the world by storm" numbers.

JHikka Oct 6, 2022 5:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 9753309)
Is it really definitively better hockey?

A lot of the players are older and end up going on to the NHL as well so...yes? It depends on the programs playing. Michigan/Wisconsin is going to easily be better hockey whereas St. Lawrence/Brown...probably not.

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire
How is this any different than the NCAA, though? The strongest college sports hotbeds are places that didn't have major league pro sports until relatively recently, if at all. Think of North Carolina for basketball, Alabama for football or North Dakota/Wisconsin for hockey.

I don't think it's all that different, is it? The difference is that the NCAA is still expanding in a variety of different areas whereas the CHL has been stagnant for at least a decade. My argument has mostly been that the CHL has steadily been pushed out of major markets in Canada. Part of this is simply natural and part of this is down to HC neglecting the future of the sport by failing to make it relevant in our urban centres, preferring to sit on their hands and funnel money into secret slush funds and whatever else they've been up to.

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire
On a related note, I took a peek at college hockey attendance stats and they are not that dissimilar from CHL numbers.

I mentioned this earlier in regards to revenue levers but NCAA schools are not at all similar to CHL teams when it comes to revenue sources, at least for the most part. Many of these schools have vasts amounts of money to pour into their programs. I'm assuming that NCAA programs don't need to focus on physical attendance at games as much as CHL teams need to. Princeton might only get 500 people out to a game but...well, it's Princeton. They don't need an additional however many people paying $20 for entry, at least not as much as Rouyn-Noranda might.

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire
Sub in London and Quebec for those two and the rest of the numbers look pretty standard CHL-like. The top drawing New England team gets around 4,500 a game. Those are respectable, but not "taking the world by storm" numbers.

I haven't eyed many NCAA rinks in the US but my gut is telling me that not many play in NHL-size arenas like Quebec does. I think only Ohio State has a big arena and it's also in a shared-NHL market. :hmmm: :P

esquire Oct 6, 2022 5:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 9753309)
Is it really definitively better hockey?

One thing is that Americans are good at is hype. And believe me, I love the hype in sports too.

But typically NCAA hockey games have 2500-5000 people packed into a small arena, with many fans being young students as opposed to Vern who drove into town from the farm in his Dodge Ram. So the atmosphere is usually a lot better. That comes through even on TV.

North Dakota consistently beats U Manitoba in their annual exhibition game at Ralph Engelstad Arena. But UND is one of the top US programs while the Bisons are pretty mediocre. It would probably be a different outcome if USask or UAlberta played UND each year.

No question that NCAA crushes it in the hype game. The Bisons draw in the range of maybe one to two hundred fans a game. Maybe three hundred if it's big. I took my family to a couple of games last season and my son loves hockey so he doesn't care about the atmosphere, but my wife was wondering why I dragged her to a game that has smaller crowds than my daughter's ringette :haha:

Meanwhile down the road at UND in Grand Forks, it's sellout crowds of 11,500, jumbotrons and pyrotechnics every game.

elly63 Oct 6, 2022 5:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 9752998)
Canadians make up 10-20% of Buffalo's season ticket holders.

That reminds me, I don't think I've seen any conversation about this. Apparently, southern Ontario makes up about 15% (or used to) of Bills attendance. The new Bills stadium, I think, will have 10k less seats. I wonder what will happen there?

elly63 Oct 6, 2022 5:42 PM

It will be interesting to see how NCAA hockey fares with the declining enrollment of male students across the board in US colleges.

Acajack Oct 6, 2022 6:03 PM

I don't think there is any comparison in the number of CHLers making it to the NHL every year, compared to the number of NCAAers.

If the number of NCAA programs is approaching the number of CHL clubs, if the calibre of play really is similar (or even better) then you'd expect they'd be producing a similar number of NHLers.

esquire Oct 6, 2022 6:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 9753348)
I don't think it's all that different, is it? The difference is that the NCAA is still expanding in a variety of different areas whereas the CHL has been stagnant for at least a decade. My argument has mostly been that the CHL has steadily been pushed out of major markets in Canada. Part of this is simply natural and part of this is down to HC neglecting the future of the sport by failing to make it relevant in our urban centres, preferring to sit on their hands and funnel money into secret slush funds and whatever else they've been up to.

Considering that hockey is still the number one pro sport in every Canadian city with a NHL team, I'd say that hockey is still pretty relevant. Even in the old days junior hockey and minor pro was a fairly marginal enterprise in the largest cities, so it's not like things have changed dramatically. The CHL in places like Toronto is roughly where I would expect them to be. I guess at one point the junior team was "downtown" when the Marlboroughs were at MLG, but would it really make a difference if the Steelheads played at Coca-Cola Coliseum and drew the same few thousand people a game? I'd imagine that they would still be roughly of the same level of prominence.

Quote:

I mentioned this earlier in regards to revenue levers but NCAA schools are not at all similar to CHL teams when it comes to revenue sources, at least for the most part. Many of these schools have vasts amounts of money to pour into their programs. I'm assuming that NCAA programs don't need to focus on physical attendance at games as much as CHL teams need to. Princeton might only get 500 people out to a game but...well, it's Princeton. They don't need an additional however many people paying $20 for entry, at least not as much as Rouyn-Noranda might.
Sure, but that's university sports. That's partly why U Sports teams are so lackadaisical with respect to marketing. The bills get paid and the paycheques cash no matter how many people are in the stands. But the reasons for why the numbers are the way they are, are not really what's relevant here.

Quote:

I haven't eyed many NCAA rinks in the US but my gut is telling me that not many play in NHL-size arenas like Quebec does. I think only Ohio State has a big arena and it's also in a shared-NHL market. :hmmm: :P
Not many CHL teams do either. If you look at the NCAA attendance figures, you will notice that only a few teams are in the "sold out every night" category of, let's say, 95% capacity or more. So it's not like capacity is a major limiting factor.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 9753432)
I don't think there is any comparison in the number of CHLers making it to the NHL every year, compared to the number of NCAAers.

If the number of NCAA programs is approaching the number of CHL clubs, if the calibre of play really is similar (or even better) then you'd expect they'd be producing a similar number of NHLers.

The NCAA does seem to be an increasingly common developmental route for NHL players... not that the NCAA schools are pumping out tons of blue-chip prospects, but there are a good number of young players who are eschewing the CHL to take the NCAA scholarship route instead. They will typically play a year or two of junior A or high school, then move into the NCAA at 18 (the Cale Makar, Jonathan Toews, etc. route).

I'm not an expert on why players make certain decisions to go one way or the other, but the CHL does come with paid postsec education as well. Basically you get one year university paid for every year of CHL hockey you play. So a lot of U Sports players are former CHL players who continue to play competitive hockey into their 20s even though they are no longer on a path to the AHL/NHL. U Sports players who actually make it to the NHL are pretty exceptional to my knowledge.

suburbanite Oct 6, 2022 6:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 9753432)
I don't think there is any comparison in the number of CHLers making it to the NHL every year, compared to the number of NCAAers.

If the number of NCAA programs is approaching the number of CHL clubs, if the calibre of play really is similar (or even better) then you'd expect they'd be producing a similar number of NHLers.

What's the average age difference between the two leagues? An NCAA team with a bunch of more developed 22-year olds could stomp a bunch of 18-year olds in the CHL, doesn't mean they are better prospects for an NHL team to try and develop.

Acajack Oct 6, 2022 6:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 9753449)




The NCAA does seem to be an increasingly common developmental route for NHL players... not that the NCAA schools are pumping out tons of blue-chip prospects, but there are a good number of young players who are eschewing the CHL to take the NCAA scholarship route instead. They will typically play a year or two of junior A or high school, then move into the NCAA at 18 (the Cale Makar, Jonathan Toews, etc. route).

I'm not an expert on why players make certain decisions to go one way or the other, but the CHL does come with paid postsec education as well. Basically you get one year university paid for every year of CHL hockey you play. So a lot of U Sports players are former CHL players who continue to play competitive hockey into their 20s even though they are no longer on a path to the AHL/NHL. U Sports players who actually make it to the NHL are pretty exceptional to my knowledge.

Yes, the NCAA is a growing source of NHLers. It may even take over as the number one source one day - but it's not even close to the CHL yet.

JHikka Oct 6, 2022 7:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 9753432)
I don't think there is any comparison in the number of CHLers making it to the NHL every year, compared to the number of NCAAers.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack
Yes, the NCAA is a growing source of NHLers. It may even take over as the number one source one day - but it's not even close to the CHL yet.

The NCAA has been slowly catching up over the past decade or so. More NCAA grads and fewer CHL grads on NHL rosters these days. It'll pass the CHL eventually. Caufield, Makar, etc.

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire
Considering that hockey is still the number one pro sport in every Canadian city with a NHL team, I'd say that hockey is still pretty relevant.

The NHL might be relevant but i'm not convinced hockey as a whole is maintaining that relevancy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire
Even in the old days junior hockey and minor pro was a fairly marginal enterprise in the largest cities, so it's not like things have changed dramatically. The CHL in places like Toronto is roughly where I would expect them to be. I guess at one point the junior team was "downtown" when the Marlboroughs were at MLG, but would it really make a difference if the Steelheads played at Coca-Cola Coliseum and drew the same few thousand people a game? I'd imagine that they would still be roughly of the same level of prominence.

It's something we'll never really have an answer to. Fact is these teams can't survive in our major urban centres, either due to the sport not being relevant, teams unable to make ends meet, pressure from professional sides drawing the attention away, or a combination of all of these factors.

The question that will eventually need to be answered for the CHL is how large does a city have to be and how much competition does there have to be for CHL teams to begin suffering and struggling? If they're strong in mid-sized markets how big can those markets get before those side-effects begin to be seen? Again, Halifax will be a good indicator, as will places like Langley and eventually KWC. We already know how they fair in the far-out suburbs of the major centres that they no longer have presence in.

esquire Oct 6, 2022 7:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 9753523)
It's something we'll never really have an answer to. Fact is these teams can't survive in our major urban centres, either due to the sport not being relevant, teams unable to make ends meet, pressure from professional sides drawing the attention away, or a combination of all of these factors.

I think without question in the larger markets it's the pro clubs drawing attention away. Instead of going to see the junior team in person (whether it's in or near downtown like in Calgary and Edmonton or in the suburbs like Toronto and Vancouver), most people just watch the pro team on TV. Some wiht the means and inclination will buy tickets. But it's pretty clear that the pros take up most of the air in the room.

Junior hockey, much like NCAA hockey, does best when it is the biggest game in town. Sure there is the odd place that can attract a good crowd even with a pro team in town, but by and large it's the smaller markets that embrace them the most. It makes sense for the junior teams to have a foothold in the large pro markets, but I don't think anyone seriously expects the junior team to take on a dominant role and start drawing 15,000 fans a night or what have you.

Anyway, if hockey isn't relevant (or is of diminishing relevancy) in Canada, between all the major pro teams, all the minor pro teams, all the junior teams, all the amateur players and leagues... then what sport would you actually consider to be relevant?

JHikka Oct 6, 2022 8:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 9753537)
Junior hockey, much like NCAA hockey, does best when it is the biggest game in town. Sure there is the odd place that can attract a good crowd even with a pro team in town, but by and large it's the smaller markets that embrace them the most. It makes sense for the junior teams to have a foothold in the large pro markets, but I don't think anyone seriously expects the junior team to take on a dominant role and start drawing 15,000 fans a night or what have you.

Just merely having that presence would do a world of difference for the sport and those participating and being exposed to it. I don't think anyone is expecting the Steelheads to move to the ACC and draw 10K+ a night, but I think it says a lot that MLSE has shown no interest in owning any sort of junior team and seem happy enough with just the Marlies at the Coliseum. In fact, any NHL effort to buy-in to the CHL seems exclusively just as an exercise to fill dates at arenas. Which, again, is fine, but I wonder how those teams would fair with independent ownership.

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 9753537)
Anyway, if hockey isn't relevant (or is of diminishing relevancy) in Canada, between all the major pro teams, all the minor pro teams, all the junior teams, all the amateur players and leagues... then what sport would you actually consider to be relevant?

I guess I need to restate what i've suggested. The CHL has no relevancy in Canada's major centres and has been relegated to its suburbs and smaller centres exclusively. This is partly due to HC's negligence and partly down to the sport just naturally becoming more appealing to suburbanites in general as the inner-city lower classes are priced out of both playing hockey and attending games.

NHL teams still do well but i'm not convinced that that support is as directly supportive of hockey as much as it is supportive of the brands of those teams or league. There's no real way to really gauge this and others are free to question this as much as they like, but I think you'll find more actual 'hockey fans' at CHL games than at NHL games, particularly those in the larger centres like Toronto. It's more NHL the Product rather than Hockey the Sport, if that makes sense. This is mostly conjecture on my behalf but it explains the wide gap between Canadians coming out for NHL hockey but not for CHL, women's, or any other various kinds at different levels. This works out fine for the NHL (money is money) but does a lot of damage to the sport at the grassroots level.

When I talk about the relevancy of a sport in a market i'm mostly referring to sports as they pertain to themselves. That is to say, are the Leafs more or less relevant today in Toronto than they were in 1992? How about in specific areas like Downtown? Oshawa? Markham? If a market is a pie chart calculated to 100 what would the Leafs have taken up thirty years ago as opposed to today? (This sort of conversation is especially relevant to the Argos, whose popularity diminished with the introduce of more and more professional sports teams to Toronto over the decades). For the CHL, they're less relevant in these markets today than ever before simply by virtue of not having any presence in these markets (an argument over whether or not Langley qualifies as Vancouver or Mississauga as Toronto), offset in part by continued relevance in growing mid-sized markets.

I'm not saying that hockey is no longer relevant in Canada - far from the truth as evidenced by just about anything - but if we're trying to trend these sorts of things out and gauge interest in various bodies then I think it's obvious that hockey is losing ground to sports that are quickly catching up to it in the general cachet of Canadian sports interest. Hockey in Canada is losing ground to hockey in the US and with other sports in Canada, so it remains to be seen how much it can, or will, be squeezed in the coming years.

I think the best indicator of the difference in mindset between the NCAA and the CHL is in their national championships - where the NCAA has been holding its Frozen Four events at NHL arenas since the mid-1990s, whereas the CHL has stuck with smaller arenas in smaller markets. If the CHL were perhaps a little daring and willing to take a risk then they could expand their tournament and move it into an NHL arena for a week or so, contained to whatever league is hosting it on that cycle. An eight-team knockout Memorial Cup at the Bell Centre sounds more appealing than their round-robin and knockout formula in Blainville, IMO. It's a change like that that can get the CHL back into major cities and back into more relevancy in the mainstream outside of their mid-sized and small markets. As the Frozen Four travels to Tampa Bay and Las Vegas in the coming years the Memorial Cup will surely be off to Kamloops, Sudbury, and Rimouski...

Acajack Oct 6, 2022 8:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 9753592)

I think the best indicator of the difference in mindset between the NCAA and the CHL is in their national championships - where the NCAA has been holding its Frozen Four events at NHL arenas since the mid-1990s, whereas the CHL has stuck with smaller arenas in smaller markets. If the CHL were perhaps a little daring and willing to take a risk then they could expand their tournament and move it into an NHL arena for a week or so, contained to whatever league is hosting it on that cycle. An eight-team knockout Memorial Cup at the Bell Centre sounds more appealing than their round-robin and knockout formula in Blainville, IMO. It's a change like that that can get the CHL back into major cities and back into more relevancy in the mainstream outside of their mid-sized and small markets. As the Frozen Four travels to Tampa Bay and Las Vegas in the coming years the Memorial Cup will surely be off to Kamloops, Sudbury, and Rimouski...

I think this is a good suggestion, but the CHL has held the Memorial Cup in NHL arenas in the past, has it not?

Maybe it's been a while, though.

JHikka Oct 6, 2022 8:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 9753624)
I think this is a good suggestion, but the CHL has held the Memorial Cup in NHL arenas in the past, has it not?

Maybe it's been a while, though.

Only arenas which are or were formerly NHL - Civic Coliseum in Ottawa, Colisee in Quebec City, Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. Seattle hosted in 1992 in what would eventually become an NHL arena with heavy renovation. :P

thurmas Oct 6, 2022 9:22 PM

What a suprise NFL games placed on CTV rather than just TSN give a huge ratings boost to NFL games in Canada too bad Bell doesn't do this with their own property the CFL cough cough.

https://3downnation.com/2022/10/06/b...f-2022-season/

Week 4 NFL primetime games held steady as Thursday Night Football featuring the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals on TSN and CTV2 averaged 803,100 viewers. Sunday Night Football with Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs against Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers averaged 677,000 viewers on TSN and CTV2. Monday Night Football between the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams versus the San Francisco 49ers on TSN checked in at 549,100.

These three standalone games averaged audiences of 676,400.

2022 Week 17 TV ratings:

Friday
Saskatchewan at Winnipeg — 701,800
Ottawa at BC — 425,200

Saturday
Montreal at Edmonton — 233,400
Toronto at Calgary — 298,400

Total Week 17 average: 414,700


(These numbers do not include viewership from RDS, TSN’s French-language affiliate, which has averaged approximately 200,000 viewers for Alouettes games in 2022.)

JHikka Oct 6, 2022 9:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thurmas (Post 9753687)
What a suprise NFL games placed on CTV rather than just TSN give a huge ratings boost to NFL games in Canada too bad Bell doesn't do this with their own property the CFL cough cough.

NFL on CTV -> advertising revenue purposes
CFL on TSN -> subscriber revenue purposes

They're divided on purpose to drive separate revenue streams. Mixing them doesn't really benefit TSN as the CFL wouldn't garner higher advertising prices on CTV and NFL wouldn't boost subscribers on TSN (due mostly to lack of exclusivity).

VANRIDERFAN Oct 6, 2022 9:58 PM

I sometimes wonder having one or two teams as part of US dominated leagues (including NHL) has hurt Canadian domestic leagues development and acceptance by a wider domestic audience. And as a result there are less positions for Canadians to play professional in their country.
Will the idea of having one or two Canadian teams in the US dominated woman’s professional soccer league help or hinder the establishment of a Canadian domestic woman’s professional soccer league.

Djeffery Oct 6, 2022 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 9753348)

I haven't eyed many NCAA rinks in the US but my gut is telling me that not many play in NHL-size arenas like Quebec does. I think only Ohio State has a big arena and it's also in a shared-NHL market. :hmmm: :P

Don't forget ASU will play in an NHL arena this year lol.


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