Record Stanley Cup television audiences are producing record revenues for the CBC.
"This is the perfect storm from an audience point of view as far as the two competitors go," said Jack Tomik, general manager of CBC's The Revenue Group.
Monday's Game 6 between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins produced an average audience of 6.6 million viewers, according to BBM Canada overnight ratings. That's a CBC record -- breaking the one set in Game 5 by half a million viewers -- and the most-watched event of the year in Canadian television, topping the Super Bowl by 100,000.
In all, 16.2 million Canadians, or about half the country, watched some or all of the game.
That record will almost surely be shattered Wednesday night and advertisers are jumping at the opportunity to spend big dollars to get in on the party. As of Tuesday afternoon, the CBC had only a handful of national ad spots left at a price reaching $140,000 for 30 seconds of air time.
That figure is also a CBC record and almost twice the rate advertisers paid earlier in the Stanley Cup playoffs. It's well above the ad rate for the Super Bowl, which this year ran around $100,000 on CTV.
It is believed to be the highest ad rate in Canadian history next to the 2010 Olympics hockey final, which saw the CTV-Rogers consortium set a top price of more than $200,000.
The bonus of having a seven-game series involving a Canadian team and one of the National Hockey League's Original Six teams will produce millions in extra ad revenue for the national broadcaster.
"A Vancouver team and an Original Six team is a great combination," Tomik said. "I don't think Tampa Bay-Vancouver would have produced this much interest.
"There's not much of anything on Canadian TV that draws this kind of audience. We're seeing advertisers who normally wouldn't be in hockey regularly coming in because of the size of the audience."
The network wouldn't say how many national spots were available Tuesday morning, but even if there were only 10 that would amount to about $600,000 in extra income for one game.
It will also pay off down the road. Since CBC's hockey ad rates are based on a three-year ratings average, advertisers will face a rate increase for next season.
Ratings south of the border have been strong, though the presence of a Canadian team has tempered audience interest.
Monday's game attracted an average U.S. audience of 3.9 million viewers, down 33 per cent from last year's Game 6 between Chicago and Philadelphia. But it was up 77 per cent from the last Game 6 involving a Canadian team.
That 2002 Edmonton-Carolina game drew 2.2 million U.S. viewers.
From The Toronto Star