Bulls & Bears: Toronto thrives as centre of hoops universe at NBA All-Star Weekend

 

Tom Mayenknecht hosts The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls Bears of sports business. He reviews the major winners and losers of the past week every Saturday.

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

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BULLS OF THE WEEK

The recent spell of freezing weather in Eastern Canada could have been the punchline in Toronto last week as it hosted the first NBA All-Star Weekend held outside of the United States. It wasn’t. Instead, the Raptors and the sport of basketball in this country are basking in the afterglow of a thoroughly successful event that made Toronto the centre of the hoops universe for a few days. The storylines around Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry’s teenage connections to the city, the “best ever” tags for the three-point and slam-dunk contests and the saturation of TV coverage and video vines proved to be a fantastic showcase for NBA, Canada, the city of Toronto and the Raptors in their 21st season. The global exposure accorded the NBA All-Stars was typified by the average American TV audience of 7.6 million watching on TNT (almost five times the U.S. viewership for the NHL All-Star event earlier this month and right up there with the eight million who watched the NFL Pro Bowl and 10.9 million who tuned into the MLB All-Star Game last summer). Broadcasters from 215 countries took the feed from Toronto. For the first time in Canadian sport television history, four of the week’s top six most-watched programs were NBA basketball. The unique shared rights coverage by TSN and Sportsnet drove an average national audience of 992,000 for NBA Saturday Night and 948,000 for the actual all-star game on Sunday. That was only half of the 1.97 million who took in this year’s NHL all-stars, but well ahead of the 581,000 watching the MLB All-Star Game last July and the paltry 165,000 Canadians who opted in for the Pro Bowl on Jan. 31. The Raptors need to win some playoff games this spring to properly leverage last week’s all-star success, but when more Canadians watched on a per capita basis than Americans — a pro-rated equivalent of 8.53 million to 7.6 million — it’s a bullish week for NBA basketball in Canada.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

This was not a great week for reputations. It was one that invoked the adage that although it can take years to build a good reputation, it can all come undone in mere weeks, days, if not hours. That’s not to say that Manny Pacquiao cannot find ways to repatriate the body of his work as a populist and popular athlete, but it’s difficult to believe he’ll ever regain his mantle as a “renaissance man” after his anti-gay comments this week. The legacy of Peyton Manning — one of the most popular players in the history of the NFL — is equally unclear as he contemplates retirement (or yet another rebirth with the L.A. Rams), 20-year-old allegations of sexual assault and any remaining fallout from the Al Jazeera documentary released Dec. 27. Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman will always be associated with his assault on an NHL linesman — not to mention questionable text-messaging judgment — in much like Todd Bertuzzi is forever linked to Steve Moore. Tiger Woods has proven that reputation is a fluid commodity, but in these days of digital search and viral social media, it is also more flammable than ever before.

Listen to The Sport Market on TSN 1040 AM Saturdays,7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Bulls & Bears airs at 9 a.m., followed by Weekend Extra with Sun Sports at 9:30 a.m.

Follow Tom Mayenknecht at: Twitter.com/thesportmarket

 
 
 
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Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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