Olympic Hockey Is Blowout For Canadian TV
Forget about a sunny day in January -- Canadians want their hockey team to win gold in the Olympics more than anything. And they're watching in record numbers -- with nearly two-thirds tuning in for at least part of Sunday's loss to the U.S.
The CTV network, which carried the national-nightmarish defeat, said 21.5 million viewers tuned in -- 64% of the population. The broadcast averaged 10.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched sports program in country history.
The 5-3 loss was only a preliminary round match-up, raising questions just how high ratings will be if Canada plays for the gold Sunday night.
Canada's previous most-watched sports broadcast -- with an average of 10.3 million viewers -- was the 2002 gold medal game in the Salt Lake City Games.
In the U.S., interest was also high in Sunday's game. An average of 8.2 million people watched it on MSNBC, nearly topping 2008 election night coverage for a network record.
Some of the intense interest in the national team in Canada is because the Olympics are being held on home turf in Vancouver. The team also features an array of top-notch talent, such as Nova Scotia's Sidney Crosby.
Sunday's 5-3 loss drew 6% higher viewership on CTV than the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies. CTV said 32.7 million Canadians -- nearly 98% of the population -- have watched some coverage of the Games in its first 10 days.
In the U.S., NBC Universal said 167 million Americans -- more than half -- have tuned into the Games on one of its networks.
A group of Canadian networks -- owned by conglomerates CTV and Rogers Media -- are sharing coverage of the Games in Canada.