ICYMI: This Week in Canadian Sports Business


Canadian sports business news and stories from this week.

My two cents: This throwback photo to the Raptors playing at SkyDome was circulating on Twitter this week. This was before my time but I can’t imagine watching a basketball game at the cavernous stadium. Despite the poor sightlines, the Raptors had the third highest attendance in the league in 1995-96, drawing 33,306 for the opener and 36,131 for a 1996 game against Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

My two cents: Having no Canadian NHL teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs, coupled with the Blue Jays early struggles, have helped the Raptors attract record breaking TV audiences during this year’s NBA playoffs. According to data from Numeris, this past Sunday’s Game 7 vs. the Heat attracted an average audience of 1.5 million people (1.7 if you include the 200,000 viewers on ABC). A total of 4.8 million people watched at least part of the game with the audience peaking at 2.7 million viewers late in the fourth quarter. The series attracted an average of 1.25 million viewers on TSN, with more than 7.7 million unique Canadians tuning in at some point during the series (about 1/5 of Canada’s population).

My two cents: This week, Jose Bautista @JoeyBats19 reached 1 million followers on Twitter, cementing his influence on social media. His blowup with Rougned Odor seems to have pushed him over the top. Bautista’s social media following helps strengthen his attractiveness to national brands who want to connect with his engaged audience.

My two cents: The inevitable has happened as the 76ers became the first Big Four team to sell ad space on their jersey. The team’s deal with StubHub is rumoured to be worth $5M a year for three years. I think Stubhub got a discount for being a first mover. I’m curious to see how long it takes for the other NBA teams to follow suit and how far behind the other Big Four leagues are from taking advantage of this new revenue opportunity.

My two cents: This is a great read. Since its inception, I have been a big fan of the Raptors “We The North” campaign. It was timed perfectly and gave the team a national identity that fans now display proudly in visiting stadiums, the ACC, outside at Jurassic Park, and across the country.

My two cents: Happy to see that TSN retained the rights to this event (and continues to be the broadcaster for Hockey Canada events like the World Juniors). In my opinion, Sportsnet doesn’t come near TSN with regards to hockey broadcasting production.

Adam Puddicombe

Adam Puddicombe is a digital marketing professional who, by day, works in the ad agency world, and by night, covers the intersection of Canadian sports, media, and technology. Adam holds a degree in commerce, with a focus in marketing, and previously worked for Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! and the St. John’s Fog Devils of the QMJHL. Follow him on Twitter @adampuddicombe.