Sports Bulls & Bears: World Juniors a ratings, social media smash for TSN

 

 
 
 
 
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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VANCOUVER — Sorting out the major winners and losers of this week — with a bottom-line twist — in the world of sports:

BULLS OF THE WEEK

In almost every single sport business indicator but one, the 2015 IIHF Under-20 World Junior Hockey Championship was a bull market for the sport and all of its stakeholders. Setting aside tickets that clearly pushed the envelope on premium pricing — particularly in the preliminary round — this was a winner in every sense of the word. Hockey Canada teamed up with rights holders TSN and RDS and corporate partners such as RBC, Telus, Canadian Tire, Esso, Tim Hortons and Nike in a textbook display of the best practices in sport broadcast, sport sponsorship and sport marketing. TSN and RDS used the appointment television ritual they’ve cultivated for 25 years, maxed out on lead-in promotion and then let impeccable game coverage and analysis do the rest en route to the biggest night in Canadian cable television history: An average national audience of 7.1 million on TSN (6.0 million) and RDS (1.1 million) and a cumulative audience of 13.4 million Canadians who watched some or all of the entertaining gold-medal final Monday. Cross-promotion and game coverage on the entire TSN Radio network didn’t hurt either. Hockey Canada’s roster of corporate partners made this year’s world juniors the Super Bowl of Canadian TV advertising, pulling at the heartstrings of our national obsession with some of the best 30-second sport-themed commercials we’ve seen in years. Never before has a television event in this country been buoyed by the intersection of so many strong social media campaigns as we witnessed the past fortnight. What’s more, the promotion of those best practices transcended the business side of sport and were showcased by Team Canada in its pursuit of performance excellence and, ultimately, world junior gold for the first time since the late Pat Quinn coached a Canadian championship side in 2009. Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney and his technical staff deserve kudos for roster selection as deep as any Canadian junior team in a non-NHL lockout year. Throw in a stick tap to head coach Benoit Groulx, whose mantra of “Tic Tac Tao” helped bring it all together. Add it all up on and off the ice, and this was as close to a flawless production as you’ll ever see on the world stage.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

Less than 12 hours after Team Canada thrilled the Air Canada Centre with best practices and gold, the Toronto Maple Leafs had head coach Randy Carlyle cleaning out his office in the same building. Sure, Carlyle couldn’t quite crack the code in adjusting his coaching style to the talent on Toronto’s roster and yes, the Leafs were the epitome of inconsistency under his watch. Yet firing Carlyle in mid-season with the Leafs two points out of a playoff berth is only a metaphor for organizational dysfunction that goes well past coaching and is another epic fail for the richest franchise in the NHL (valued at $1.3 billion by Forbes Magazine). Mid-season firings rarely provide the elixir of success for the teams involved and are as much an indictment of mistakes by ownership and management as they are related to shortcomings in a coach. That applies as much or more in Toronto as it has in any recent mid-season dismissal. And on that note, when the Leafs replace Peter Horachek this off-season, they will do so with their sixth head coach in less than a decade and the 22nd since Punch Imlach coached the team to its last Stanley Cup 48 years ago in 1967.

Tom Mayenknecht is host of 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 in The Vancouver Sun.

 
 
 
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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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