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

Acajack Nov 7, 2019 8:45 PM

Currently there is on the part of many Canadians an eagerness and curiosity about sports that are "not Canadian", so in light of this fact I would expect rugby to be ascendant for the next little while.

But as esquire says it's got a long way to go before it even reaches the mainstream level that a sport like soccer has attained.

And gridiron football (Canadian or American, take your pick) is on another level beyond that.

esquire Nov 7, 2019 8:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 8742273)
Currently there is on the part of many Canadians an eagerness and curiosity about sports that are "not Canadian", so in light of this fact I would expect rugby to be ascendant for the next little while.

You think so? I look at what sports are popular now vs. the ones that were popular when I was a kid in school say 30 years ago, and not much has changed. The relative popularity of some sports may have changed (for instance, basketball and soccer are more popular, hockey at the amateur level a bit less so perhaps due to the cost and relative inaccessibility), but by and large I'm hard pressed to think of "new to Canada" sports that have made huge inroads here over my lifetime.

Rugby is still now, as it then was, a bit of a niche sport popular in certain circles, and others like cricket are still mainly played/followed by ethnic minorities. Others like netball haven't caught on at all.

Acajack Nov 7, 2019 8:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 8742286)
You think so? I look at what sports are popular now vs. the ones that were popular when I was a kid in school say 30 years ago, and not much has changed. The relative popularity of some sports may have changed (for instance, basketball and soccer are more popular, hockey at the amateur level a bit less so perhaps due to the cost and relative inaccessibility), but by and large I'm hard pressed to think of "new to Canada" sports that have made huge inroads here over my lifetime.

Rugby is still now, as it then was, a bit of a niche sport popular in certain circles, and others like cricket are still mainly played/followed by ethnic minorities. Others like netball haven't caught on at all.

It's not a collapse, but I am sensing a slow but steady erosion.

ScreamingViking Nov 7, 2019 9:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 8742214)
As with any emerging sport, I think its best hopes are with younger generations, the kids who are in their K-12 years who are playing the game now or might be in a few years time. They are the ones who could be buying season tickets in 20 years time.

I agree.

But if the traditional North American prolate spheroid football leagues face a steep legal cliff sooner rather than later, the disposable income of the "older" generations of fans will be up for grabs.

esquire Nov 7, 2019 9:13 PM

I think rugby has room for growth in the same way that a penny stock might go up from 10 cents a share to 25 on some rumours. I mean, it could eventually become a heavy hitter in North American sports, but that might be 50 or 100 years from now.

Also, I am not so sure that older generations can be convinced to get into something like rugby. I'm 40 and when it comes to sports I'm set in my ways. Hockey and football are really the only sports that I see myself ever being a big fan of. And even hockey is really only on the list because I have son who plays and is nuts about it... a decade ago I couldn't tell you anything about what was going on in the NHL. I got back into it after many years as a lapsed fan, but I doubt I'd be taking up fandom in any new sports.

I wouldn't say the demise of the NFL and CFL due to class action lawsuits is never going to happen, but I doubt it will be anytime soon. 20 years from now I expect that the NFL and CFL will still be more or less doing their thing as they are today.

ScreamingViking Nov 7, 2019 9:20 PM

It's hard for me to imagine those leagues dying anytime soon, but I think they're coming to a reckoning in terms of how they approach player safety and injury (and are not dealing with them very well yet). CFL is my main focus, NFL is something I'll put on TV and pay a passing interest, hockey is similar to that, and baseball I will watch with other interested people but can't be bothered when alone.

Yet CPL gained my interest fairly easily and quickly... it was a championship game so that's different, but I'm quite curious now. How many more are like me? How might rugby do the same?

jonny24 Nov 7, 2019 9:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ScreamingViking (Post 8742312)
I agree.

But if the traditional North American prolate spheroid football leagues face a steep legal cliff sooner rather than later, the disposable income of the "older" generations of fans will be up for grabs.

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 8742322)
I wouldn't say the demise of the NFL and CFL due to class action lawsuits is never going to happen, but I doubt it will be anytime soon. 20 years from now I expect that the NFL and CFL will still be more or less doing their thing as they are today.

I think that its more likely that we would see some signifigant changes to how the game is played rather than anything dying off. That's exactly what drove a lot of the changes to football over 100 years ago. Too many people were getting hurt or dying so they changed rules, added pads, etc. Ironically it may be back towards a rugby style of play. Not that it doesn't have it's own concussion problems but it seems to be a a level less than that of football.

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 8742322)
I think rugby has room for growth in the same way that a penny stock might go up from 10 cents a share to 25 on some rumours. I mean, it could eventually become a heavy hitter in North American sports, but that might be 50 or 100 years from now.

We're right at the first step of that coming to be (if it does) with Major League Rugby entering it's third season and up to 12 teams. I don't think they'd ever catch up to MLS but I could see them finding sustainability at a level similar to pro lacrosse. Another Canadian team to join the Arrows would go a long way to boosting the profile in Canada.

Not to mention the Wolfpack, who just signed Sonny Bill Williams, one of the most famous players of either type of rugby. I'm obviously a rugby fan so I know all about him, but does he have much name recognition to the more casual sports fans here? Most people have at least heard of the All Blacks but probably not specific players? :shrug:

jonny24 Nov 7, 2019 9:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ScreamingViking (Post 8742331)
Yet CPL gained my interest fairly easily and quickly... it was a championship game so that's different, but I'm quite curious now. How many more are like me? How might rugby do the same?

It's tricky because of the split (and associated animosity) between the codes of rugby. Toronto has become a fairly unique city in the world when it comes to that. Canada's amateur rugby culture is like 98% Rugby Union, but it's Rugby League that got to market first, has the way richer ownership, and joined the "foreign big league" that Torontonians love.

So it's already fractured in our largest city. Who knows how it all plays out? :shrug: How either one expands will play a big part. The CPL owner in Halifax mentioned interest in MLR but no idea how serious that is, and Vancouver seems obvious but in-fighting seems to have kept it from happening. Ottawa and NYC are supposed to join the English RL system like the Wolfpack did but don't appear to have billionaire owners.

thurmas Nov 7, 2019 9:36 PM

Football will likely soon have to go the rugby route and get rid of helmets and shoulder pads for player safety and tackling will need to change from collisions to the rugby style of more lassoing a player to the ground in a slower controlled fashion.

Djeffery Nov 9, 2019 2:55 PM

TSN NBA Studio crew suddenly back in grade 2 lol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ4u9V5bSzI

JHikka Nov 11, 2019 7:38 PM

Don't think i've ever seen Canadian wrestling numbers before, so it's interesting to find these:

https://ewrestling.com/article/aew-w...mackdown-shows

In ratings news in Canada, WWE SmackDown on 10/11 dropped to 201,300 while WWE RAW on 10/14 was up to 294,000 viewers.

AEW Dynamite on 10/16 fell to 108,000 - a 29% drop week-over-week going head-to-head against a NHL Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game.

WWE SmackDown on 10/18 fell considerably to 125,800 viewers, WWE RAW on 10/21 did 169,800 viewers against the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game again, while AEW Dynamite was up to 150,700 against a MLB World Series game.

blueandgoldguy Nov 11, 2019 9:45 PM

MLS tv numbers were quite poor this year in the US. It certainly does not bode well for a significant increase in the tv contract in 2022.

https://worldsoccertalk.com/2019/10/...take-nosedive/

TV viewing numbers for the 2019 MLS regular season saw a dramatic decline compared to last year, so much so that the MLS TV ratings slumped 19% while the opening weekend of the MLS playoffs dropped 54%.

For the 2019 regular MLS season, viewership over the 62 televised broadcasts averaged 268,081 viewers according to research from World Soccer Talk. That compares to an average of 332,435 last year for the same number of games, marking a 19.35% decline in viewership across all MLS broadcasters combined — FS1, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2, Univision, UniMas and TUDN.

MLS fans may attribute the dramatic decline to the impact MLS games have with the World Cup as lead-in on the over-the-air FOX network. But when MLS broadcasts from over-the-air FOX are removed from the 2018 and 2019 data, the overall viewing average still dropped 9.4% from 2019 to 2018 (237,517 in 2019 compared to 262,161 in 2018).

While MLS TV ratings continue to decline year over year, the 2019 regular MLS season saw a greater average viewing audience on Spanish-language television than the English-language TV networks. Univision networks averaged 238,000 viewers for MLS games compared to 203,000 viewers on FOX Sports and ESPN combined. Having said that, MLS viewership on Univision networks dropped 17% in 2019 compared to 2018.

The downward trend of MLS TV ratings continues on FOX Sports where viewing numbers averaged 223,294 in 2019 compared to 235,581 in 2016, which is a 5.2% decline.

Any hopes of a TV ratings boost during the opening round of the MLS playoffs failed to materialize last weekend. Out of the six games featured on US television, the MLS playoffs averaged 177,500 viewers at a time when you would expect viewing numbers to skyrocket given the league’s fixation on using a format from traditional American sports. Average viewership for the 2018 MLS Playoffs Knockout Round was 390,750. The decline from 2019 to 2018? The average viewing audience plummeted 54.5 per cent.



HOW DOES MLS FIX THEIR TV RATINGS PROBLEM?
Analysis by Christopher Harris, Soccer media analyst

Unfortunately for MLS, there isn’t a quick fix to their declining TV ratings. The problems the league faces are systemic and would require seismic changes to alter the perception of the league’s lesser quality of play and inconsistent production value.

With the league focusing most of its efforts on generating expansion fees, signing new sponsors and increasing attendance numbers, Major League Soccer has taken “their foot off the pedal” and neglected the league’s TV partners. Instead of, just as one example, focusing on shifting the league’s calendar so the most important time of the season doesn’t conflict with NFL and college football, MLS carries on with a “business as usual” approach.

At the same time, MLS continues to increase the number of teams in the league which has the double impact of diluting the quality of American players across Major League Soccer while making the relatively meaningless regular season even less relevant. After all, when 58% of the teams make the playoffs, what’s the incentive to watch the league’s first five months when teams can go on a winning run in the late summer to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Nothing seems to change in MLS, and the issues with the league go unaddressed.

SEE MORE: Access our archive of soccer TV ratings from 2007 to present

Another worrying concern is that MLS doesn’t have a solid foundation of hardcore fans who are interested in watching the league on national TV. MLS supporters are more likely to be casual fans, easily switching allegiances to NFL or college football teams when their MLS team isn’t playing. Even when it isn’t NFL or college football season, most MLS fans are disinterested in watching games from the rest of the league. Given that there’s so much of a focus on selling tickets to local games and the relatively poor quality of the league, it’s not surprising that fans of local MLS teams don’t have much interest in watching the rest of the league on television.

While the likelihood of promotion/relegation ever happening in MLS is a pipe dream given the league’s business model, the league needs to address how diluted the product is when you have 29 teams and growing. Ideally, the league needs to consider MLS1 and MLS2 leagues where the top 14 teams compete in the top flight league, and the remainder of the MLS2 teams play in the secondary league with chances to advance to the top tier. But knowing MLS executives, I don’t foresee the league changing anything anytime soon.

It’s more likely that the league will continue to expand until they have 20 teams in the Western Conference and 20 more in the Eastern Conference. Given that generating expansion fees is the number one goal for the league, it’s no wonder that TV ratings are unimportant to them. After all, when MLS TV rights are combined with the U.S. national teams as they have been for years, it means that MLS TV rights are subsidized by the US Soccer Federation. If the MLS rights were uncoupled from the U.S. national team contracts, MLS would then have to sink or swim, and to make serious changes.

To fix MLS TV ratings, fans will have a laundry list of ideas that they believe will help the league (setting up a more consistent TV schedule, TV networks need to advertise more, MLS needs better players, etcetera). However, none of these factors will help because the core structure of Major League Soccer is broken for two main reasons: (1) MLS games are not as competitive as other leagues because the champion is determined in a cup competition after five months of largely irrelevant league games. (2) The quality of soccer in the bottom half of MLS is poor because there’s no penalty or relegation and very little accountability for a team that plays badly in the league.

Meanwhile, soccer fans in the United States have access to better soccer from around the world that’s more accessible than MLS games. As a result, viewers are tuning out Major League Soccer and tuning into other leagues, clubs and competitions from around the world
.

Great article that outlines the numerous problems with MLS soccer as it's currently structured. It really appears the bright minds in the league are more concerned with the short term gains of expansion fees and attendance and less concerned with long-term goals like increasing tv ratings, overall competitiveness of the league and scheduling.

Just to add to that, I sensed much less interest in Toronto FC's road to the MLS Cup this year. There was an indication of that on CTV National News last night. I suspect ratings for the FC playoffs and finals will have declined from 2016 and 2017. We should find out in the coming days when the ratings are released.

JHikka Nov 11, 2019 9:56 PM

As a comparison, MLB TV figures are more or less flat and their TV deal extension is a 50% value increase over their previous deal. Next.

thurmas Nov 11, 2019 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blueandgoldguy (Post 8745487)
MLS tv numbers were quite poor this year in the US. It certainly does not bode well for a significant increase in the tv contract in 2022.

https://worldsoccertalk.com/2019/10/...take-nosedive/

TV viewing numbers for the 2019 MLS regular season saw a dramatic decline compared to last year, so much so that the MLS TV ratings slumped 19% while the opening weekend of the MLS playoffs dropped 54%.

For the 2019 regular MLS season, viewership over the 62 televised broadcasts averaged 268,081 viewers according to research from World Soccer Talk. That compares to an average of 332,435 last year for the same number of games, marking a 19.35% decline in viewership across all MLS broadcasters combined — FS1, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2, Univision, UniMas and TUDN.

MLS fans may attribute the dramatic decline to the impact MLS games have with the World Cup as lead-in on the over-the-air FOX network. But when MLS broadcasts from over-the-air FOX are removed from the 2018 and 2019 data, the overall viewing average still dropped 9.4% from 2019 to 2018 (237,517 in 2019 compared to 262,161 in 2018).

While MLS TV ratings continue to decline year over year, the 2019 regular MLS season saw a greater average viewing audience on Spanish-language television than the English-language TV networks. Univision networks averaged 238,000 viewers for MLS games compared to 203,000 viewers on FOX Sports and ESPN combined. Having said that, MLS viewership on Univision networks dropped 17% in 2019 compared to 2018.

The downward trend of MLS TV ratings continues on FOX Sports where viewing numbers averaged 223,294 in 2019 compared to 235,581 in 2016, which is a 5.2% decline.

Any hopes of a TV ratings boost during the opening round of the MLS playoffs failed to materialize last weekend. Out of the six games featured on US television, the MLS playoffs averaged 177,500 viewers at a time when you would expect viewing numbers to skyrocket given the league’s fixation on using a format from traditional American sports. Average viewership for the 2018 MLS Playoffs Knockout Round was 390,750. The decline from 2019 to 2018? The average viewing audience plummeted 54.5 per cent.



HOW DOES MLS FIX THEIR TV RATINGS PROBLEM?
Analysis by Christopher Harris, Soccer media analyst

Unfortunately for MLS, there isn’t a quick fix to their declining TV ratings. The problems the league faces are systemic and would require seismic changes to alter the perception of the league’s lesser quality of play and inconsistent production value.

With the league focusing most of its efforts on generating expansion fees, signing new sponsors and increasing attendance numbers, Major League Soccer has taken “their foot off the pedal” and neglected the league’s TV partners. Instead of, just as one example, focusing on shifting the league’s calendar so the most important time of the season doesn’t conflict with NFL and college football, MLS carries on with a “business as usual” approach.

At the same time, MLS continues to increase the number of teams in the league which has the double impact of diluting the quality of American players across Major League Soccer while making the relatively meaningless regular season even less relevant. After all, when 58% of the teams make the playoffs, what’s the incentive to watch the league’s first five months when teams can go on a winning run in the late summer to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Nothing seems to change in MLS, and the issues with the league go unaddressed.

SEE MORE: Access our archive of soccer TV ratings from 2007 to present

Another worrying concern is that MLS doesn’t have a solid foundation of hardcore fans who are interested in watching the league on national TV. MLS supporters are more likely to be casual fans, easily switching allegiances to NFL or college football teams when their MLS team isn’t playing. Even when it isn’t NFL or college football season, most MLS fans are disinterested in watching games from the rest of the league. Given that there’s so much of a focus on selling tickets to local games and the relatively poor quality of the league, it’s not surprising that fans of local MLS teams don’t have much interest in watching the rest of the league on television.

While the likelihood of promotion/relegation ever happening in MLS is a pipe dream given the league’s business model, the league needs to address how diluted the product is when you have 29 teams and growing. Ideally, the league needs to consider MLS1 and MLS2 leagues where the top 14 teams compete in the top flight league, and the remainder of the MLS2 teams play in the secondary league with chances to advance to the top tier. But knowing MLS executives, I don’t foresee the league changing anything anytime soon.

It’s more likely that the league will continue to expand until they have 20 teams in the Western Conference and 20 more in the Eastern Conference. Given that generating expansion fees is the number one goal for the league, it’s no wonder that TV ratings are unimportant to them. After all, when MLS TV rights are combined with the U.S. national teams as they have been for years, it means that MLS TV rights are subsidized by the US Soccer Federation. If the MLS rights were uncoupled from the U.S. national team contracts, MLS would then have to sink or swim, and to make serious changes.

To fix MLS TV ratings, fans will have a laundry list of ideas that they believe will help the league (setting up a more consistent TV schedule, TV networks need to advertise more, MLS needs better players, etcetera). However, none of these factors will help because the core structure of Major League Soccer is broken for two main reasons: (1) MLS games are not as competitive as other leagues because the champion is determined in a cup competition after five months of largely irrelevant league games. (2) The quality of soccer in the bottom half of MLS is poor because there’s no penalty or relegation and very little accountability for a team that plays badly in the league.

Meanwhile, soccer fans in the United States have access to better soccer from around the world that’s more accessible than MLS games. As a result, viewers are tuning out Major League Soccer and tuning into other leagues, clubs and competitions from around the world
.

Great article that outlines the numerous problems with MLS soccer as it's currently structured. It really appears the bright minds in the league are more concerned with the short term gains of expansion fees and attendance and less concerned with long-term goals like increasing tv ratings, overall competitiveness of the league and scheduling.

Just to add to that, I sensed much less interest in Toronto FC's road to the MLS Cup this year. There was an indication of that on CTV National News last night. I suspect ratings for the FC playoffs and finals will have declined from 2016 and 2017. We should find out in the coming days when the ratings are released.

Man those are pathetic viewership numbers for MLS for friggin PLAYOFF GAMES! CFL does much better numbers than that on ESPN2.

thurmas Nov 11, 2019 10:27 PM

With Don Cherry fired will be interesting to see if Sportsnet sees a significant drop in subscribers or not as most hockey fans are still mostly old stock WASP white Canadians and might be pissed off from this. Rogers sure has not seen any sort of payoff from their $5.2 billion investment in NHL rights they have basically lost their shirts on this deal and TSN must be laughing at them. Sportsnet is the white old man sports network with Baseball and Hockey and not much else.

Djeffery Nov 11, 2019 11:15 PM

Will be interesting to see what they replace Coach's Corner with. I figured last year that they brought Brian Burke in to get him ready to take over that slot when Cherry finally left, but this is probably sooner than they hoped.

Berklon Nov 11, 2019 11:29 PM

Saw some shots from the game in Calgary. Holy empty seats, Batman.

Surprised it took this long to get rid of Cherry. I can't see it making that big a difference in viewership numbers. If you're going to watch the game - you'll watch it with or without Cherry.

isaidso Nov 12, 2019 12:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thurmas (Post 8745524)
With Don Cherry fired will be interesting to see if Sportsnet sees a significant drop in subscribers or not as most hockey fans are still mostly old stock WASP white Canadians and might be pissed off from this. .

Has it never occurred to you that having a pig like Don Cherry on payroll has been damaging to the NHL/hockey and turned people away to other leagues/sports? I tuned out a very long time ago. Firing Don Cherry is too little too late. I'm never coming back and I doubt I'm alone. It's disgusting that it was tolerated in the first place.

thurmas Nov 12, 2019 12:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by isaidso (Post 8745641)
Has it never occurred to you that having a pig like Don Cherry on payroll has been damaging to the NHL/hockey and turned people away to other leagues/sports? I tuned out a very long time ago. Firing Don Cherry is too little too late. I'm never coming back.

I am not a fan of Cherry but I do think he has a large audience in this country. Cherry is a cave man of hockey and has lived off being able to coach Bobby Orr for a few years into a 40 year broadcasting career. I am a much bigger football fan than hockey as hockey parents and the culture of the sport really turned me off the game as a kid it is a elitist sport similar to tennis or golf these days. I occasionally watch the Jets but that's not very often and only because in the winter months it is the only big league sport Winnipeg has going.

Djeffery Nov 12, 2019 12:47 AM

I don't know about the last few years, especially with the Leafs resurgence as a competitive team, but it's long been said that HNIC ratings went up as Don Cherry came on. I'm pretty sure that he wasn't in Sportsnet's plans when they got the national TV deal and public pressure caused them to bring him back


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