Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brier TV numbers slip but still impressive

The television numbers are in for the Brier and while they’re solid, the audience for the final has to be a bit disappointing. For the first time in recent memory the championship game didn’t crack one million viewers on TSN.

The match-up between Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton and eventual winner Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario topped out at 914,000.

That means that the final of the Scotties out-drew the Brier this year. The women’s final drew 
1,057,000. While that’s happened before, it is pretty rare. And it also came on a night when the Scotties was up against the Academy Awards, usually one of the biggest draws of the television year.

Part of the reason for the low Brier number could be the teams. When a rink from audience-rich Southern Ontario is in the final, there is usually a bigger number. Without Glenn Howard (or a Kevin Martin) and with Jacobs not being a household name as of yet, many casual fans may have decided to watch Walking Dead. As well, the later start – 8:30 EDT – could have had an impact as well.

Make no mistake: TSN is overjoyed to see an audience number of 914,000 and all week, the evening games brought in more than 500,000, so that puts it up ahead or on pace with hockey (except for Leaf games) but I’m sure the network was expecting more than a million.

The semi-final game between the two Ontario teams drew 754,000. The first page game between Glenn Howard and Stoughton had an audience of 832, while the Jacobs game with Brad Gushue’s Newfoundland and Labrador squad brought in 728,000.

And the bronze medal game? Oh right, that wasn’t on TV.

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