A weekly digest of the top Canadian sports business news, tweets, and more. All links are curated by hand by the Sports Business Canada team. Submit your links to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.67 million Canadians watch Raptors vs. Rockets
An average of 552,000 viewers tuned in to see the Raptors snap the Rockets 17-game winning streak, making it the most-watched regular season Raptors game ever on Canadian television. A total of 1.67 million Canadians tuned in to see all or some of the game.
“The excitement for the Raptors is clearly building right across the country,” said Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet & NHL Properties, Rogers Media. “Sportsnet will continue to provide full coverage of the Raptors across all of our platforms and we look forward to, hopefully, an extended playoff run.”
The game, which was broadcast on Sportsnet ONE and Sportsnet Ontario, had a peak audience of 1.1 million viewers in the final few minutes of the game. Friday night’s game was also the most-watched program of the night in the coveted adult 25-54 demographic.
— Sportsnet PR (@SportsnetPR) March 12, 2018
— Scott Moore (@MooreScottmoore) March 12, 2018
110,555 attend the 2018 Brier in Regina
Back-to-back snowstorms didn’t stop 110,555 from attending this year’s Brier in Regina, representing 78% capacity at Brandt Centre (6,484 capacity for hockey). However, the total is noticeably less than the 125,971 fans who attended the last time Regina played host to the Brier in 2006. 110,555 is also shy of last year’s attendance in St. John’s when 122,692 fans filled Mile One Centre (6,241 capacity) over 22 draws. However, last year was the first Brier ever held in Newfoundland & Labrador and the hometown Gushue rink captured the province’s first Brier Tankard since 1976. The all-time attendance record of 281,985 belongs to Edmonton 2005. Next year’s Brier will return to the prairies as Brandon, Manitoba plays host.
Final Brier attendance 110,055. Got clobbered by two separate snow storms. Alberta Clipper. Colorado Low. Volunteers were outstanding.
— Terry Jones (@byterryjones) March 12, 2018
— #Sportsbiz Canada (@sportsbizcanada) March 12, 2018
St. John’s joins the ECHL
St. John’s, NL will be joining the ECHL (formerly East Coast Hockey League) for the 2018-19 season. The St. John’s Membership will be owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment, an entity controlled by local businessman Dean MacDonald. Glenn Stanford, the long-time President of the City’s American Hockey League franchise, will oversee operations. The expansion team for St. John’s was approved by the ECHL board on March 13, 2018. The St. John’s franchise will now work towards finalizing its affiliation agreement with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
#ECHL Board of Governors approves changes for 2018-19 Season.
St. John's, Newfoundland to join League as expansion team
MORE -> https://t.co/XPBLUmQU1h
— ECHL (@ECHL) March 13, 2018
After months of road blocks, CBC and The Telegram report that a deal has been reached for an ECHL expansion team to begin play in St. John’s, NL this fall. The team will replace the AHL’s IceCaps who departed Newfoundland for Laval, PQ last May. As previously reported, the St. John’s ECHL will be affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, renewing a long-standing partnership between the two cities. St. John’s was home to the Leafs’ AHL team from 1991-2005. The team will be owned and operated by local businessman Dean MacDonald, former IceCaps’ COO Glenn Stanford, and the ownership group of NBL Canada’s St. John’s Edge which includes Irwin Simon, Robert Sabbagh, and John Graham. It’s expected St. John’s will slot into a division with the Brampton Beast, currently Canada’s only ECHL team, and a number of former AHL cities in the northeast United States.
With ECHL hockey agreement all but done, now the real work starts | The Telegram https://t.co/yTgTin08oK
— Robin Short (@telyrobinshort) March 7, 2018
— CBC NL (@CBCNL) March 7, 2018
Record-setting attendance for Whitecaps
MLS is back and so are Vancouver Whitecaps’ fans. The Whitecaps opened their 2018 season to a club record home opener crowd of 27,827, representing a lower bowl sellout at BC Place. The Whitecaps had an average attendance of 21,416 in 2017, good for 7th in MLS. The record-setting crowd comes during a year where the BC Lions (19,858 avg. attendance, lowest since 2002) and Vancouver Canucks (17,895 avg. attendance, on pace for lowest since 2001-02) have struggled at the gate. Stay tuned for our podcast with Whitecaps’ Senior Manager, Sales & Premium Seating Paul Fruitman as we discuss the home opener crowd and attendance targets for this year, among other things.
Today’s attendance: 27,837.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) March 5, 2018
— Paul M Fruitman (@paulfruitman) March 6, 2018
DAZN strikes 3-year deal with MLS
MLS LIVE is moving to the DAZN platform in Canada, providing subscribers a minimum of 262 games in 2018. An additional 129 games (involving all three Canadian MLS teams) will be made available in full and condensed form on a 48-hour delay. MLS joins an impressive soccer offering on DAZN, where subscribers already have access to every La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 domestic league game. MLS enjoyed a record year in attendance and viewership on TSN and TVA Sports in 2017, highlighted by Toronto FC winning MLS Cup.
“We are thrilled to move MLS LIVE to a great new platform in Canada while providing our Canadian fans a way to watch MLS action all season long,” said Diego Moratorio, General Manager, MLS Canada. “DAZN will expand the reach of MLS LIVE, providing supporters easier access to the games they love.”
— DAZN_CA (@DAZN_CA) March 2, 2018
.@DAZN_CA and @MLS announce MLS LIVE will move to DAZN this year. It's a three-year deal. TSN still broadcasting Canadian teams but DAZN will have 292 other games, plus 129 additional games (including TOR, VAN, MTL) on 48-hour delay.
— Laura Armstrong (@lauraarmy) March 2, 2018
Live Paralympic action on Twitter
Twitter Canada will be live streaming the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games through Sunday, March 18 as part of an exclusive partnership to Canada. This will include a daily Canadian recap show from CBC and event action (both live streaming via the @CDNParalympics and @CDNParalympique Twitter accounts). Sports featured on live stream will include curling, hockey, cross country skiing, alpine skiing, snowboard and biathlon.
— CDN Paralympic Team (@CDNParalympics) March 9, 2018
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