Canada's hockey fans spurn CBC in wake of season lockout

Michelle Clancy | 01-11-2012

Thirsting for hockey in a season that has been locked out, a surfeit of mostly male TV viewers is turning away from the Canadian Broadcasting Co.'s (CBC) formerly top-rated Hockey Night in Canada, which is now showing game re-runs on Saturday nights.

In fact, CBC has held on to just 11% of its audience during the negotiations impasse which has halted the season for Canada's favourite sport, according to BBM Canada data.

Fellow national broadcaster meanwhile CTV said that it has doubled its 8-10 p.m. audience with Big Bang Night, which shows four Big Bang Theory re-runs in a row, reaching a 19% ratings share on Saturday nights. Global Television, Canada's third national public network, airs the popular Chicago Fire on Saturday nights, and has seen its viewership rise 5%.

BBM Canada said that Canadian cable channels meanwhile have snagged 34% of hockey viewers, translating to a combined 20% increase in audience share on Saturday nights. The Comedy Network reports viewership is up by 56,000 on Saturday night, while sports network TSN has seen a 50,000-viewer nightly boost.

CBC's Hockey Night is a classic, traditionally driving a majority of the network's ad revenue during the fall season.