BUFFALO – An incredible 14.2 million Canadians watched some or all of the gold medal game on Wednesday night which featured a dramatic comeback by the Russians to beat Canada, 5-3. In a country of 33 million, that represents nearly half the population.
TSN posted an average of 6.23 million viewers, and RDS, the French-language arm of the broadcaster, attracted a record 652,000 viewers. The total of 6.88 million was also a record.
Viewership peaked at 9.3 million late in the third period (TSN and RDS combined) as the Russians were completing their historic comeback. The game was the most watched show on Canadian television since the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver last February.
Additionally, overall viewership set records for TSN. The average audience for Canada’s seven games in the U20 in Buffalo was 3.2 million, an unheard of number even a few years ago.
Given the remarkable ending to the event, these eye-popping numbers might well rise again next year. Calgary and Edmonton will host the 2012 U20, and the storylines are already many.
Canada and the United States will play in the same group, meaning another classic New Year’s Eve game in the Preliminary Round might well be scheduled. As well, Russia will be in the opposite group, suggesting another Canada-Russia gold-medal game might also be possible.