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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/rogers-early-season-tv-ratings-down-sharply-for-nhl-maple-leafs/article27702912/

"The early television ratings on the NHL and Toronto Maple Leafs blasted away any lingering good news from the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Media.

While NHL TV ratings are down across the board on average for Rogers for the first seven weeks this season, as expected the worst news concerns the Maple Leafs, the team that drives the numbers because it is in the largest broadcast market in Canada.

The combined ratings for the Leafs on all the Rogers-connected networks that carry them, CBC, Sportsnet and City, are down 30 per cent from Oct. 7 through Nov. 21 according to Numeris, the only company in Canada that compiles broadcast ratings."

You can start getting your minds around it right now: hockey is dying in Canada. They have completed the epitome of killing the goose that lays the golden egg: they oversold it, over advertised it, built condos on it, made a lousy product and sold it at prices only a rich man can afford.

Now they're about to get the results.

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I will wager you valuable Kimmy Points that as the Leafs on-ice product improves, their ratings will also improve. Leafs fans endured another very poor start to the season and I can't blame them for not tuning in, but it appears that Babcock has them moving in the right direction lately.

-k

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After such dismal mismanagement most franchises would be experiencing far more than a drop in TV ratings. The Leafs have been a horrible team for a decade now and somehow still fill the building and sell gobs of merchandise. If the club improves to the point that they are even remotely in a playoff race, the ratings will not only rebound, but fans will start planning the Stanley Cup parade route.

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I will wager you valuable Kimmy Points that as the Leafs on-ice product improves, their ratings will also improve.

Sure. But the underlying assumption is that Torontonians need the Leafs like they need oxygen.

They're not inducing the immigrant demographic, the youth demographic... and with more years of losing ahead it's going to be less of a bump once they do get better, if there's a bump at all.

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After such dismal mismanagement most franchises would be experiencing far more than a drop in TV ratings. The Leafs have been a horrible team for a decade now and somehow still fill the building ...

Home opener against the Habs this year did not sell out.

This should be a big story but there's too much at stake if the Leafs decline becomes a juggernaut.

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I will wager you valuable Kimmy Points that as the Leafs on-ice product improves, their ratings will also improve. Leafs fans endured another very poor start to the season and I can't blame them for not tuning in, but it appears that Babcock has them moving in the right direction lately.

-k

It's more than that: there's no buzz around the Leafs, no star power or sex appeal. The Jays have had success and have a roster of real stars like Donaldson and Bautista. the Raptors are winning with Lowry. Even lowly TFC had success with MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco as their centrepiece. The Leafs are a bad team with no personality. Maybe if they draft Matthews or sign Stamkos next year that will change, but there's no compelling reason to watch this team.

The other factor in all this is that Sportsnet itself has made a compete hash of their NHL broadcasts. They're awful.

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The other factor in all this is that Sportsnet itself has made a compete hash of their NHL broadcasts. They're awful.

I agree with that much, but they were this bad last year as well, so I can't see that being a rationale for a year-over-year drop.

-k

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The television product itself has declined considerably since Rogers took over (even the CBC broadcasts are produced for them by Rogers now). It's no wonder that people aren't watching. If your team isn't doing well, that's bad enough. But if the broadcast is torture to begin with, it doesn't take much of a reason for people to tune out.

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I agree with that much, but they were this bad last year as well, so I can't see that being a rationale for a year-over-year drop.

-k

Well last year was the first year for it so there was probably some willingness to overlook some of the flaws as they sorted themselves out. Then, when it became clear that the flaws weren't bugs but features, people tuned out.

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The Leafs are starting to come into form as a well coached group of underdogs. They may not ever compete for a playoff spot but they're more interesting to watch lately then they were last year.

They also have to compete with the Raptors for casual fans, and the Raps are a winning team.

I like Sportsnet. Much better than TSN, they've brought a lot of the CBC talent over.

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I like Sportsnet.

Not really. They populate their game broadcasts with shrill meatheads like John Garrett and Greg Millen and many others . They have so much time to fill with the mega-contract. They have a couple of 'hosts' -like David Amber and George Strombopoulos- that have nothing to offer IMO. The regional broadcasts have on-air ' personalties' that are a long distance from interesting.

On the other side, TSN has some superb analysts like Ray Feraro that are underutilized because they have no actual product to produce. James Duthie and Bob MacKenzie are in a simalar boat in the studio.

I almost always change channels between periods on Sportsnet.

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I like Sportsnet. Much better than TSN, they've brought a lot of the CBC talent over.

Their play by play crews are, at best, ok. But their studio analysts? WOOF.

Don Cherry: 2014–present
Damien Cox: 2011–present
Elliotte Friedman: 2014–present
Glenn Healy: 2014–present
Kelly Hrudey: 2014–present
Billy Jaffe: 2014–present
Mike Johnson: 2014–present
Chris Johnston: 2014–present
Nick Kypreos: 1998–present
Doug MacLean: 2009–present
Scott Morrison: 2014–present
Darren Pang: 2014–present
John Shannon: 2014–present
Mark Spector: 2014–present
P. J. Stock: 2014–present
Colby Armstrong: 2014-present
Louie DeBrusk: 2014-present
Outside of Elliotte Friedman, there's not a brain cell to be found. Terrible.
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I can't believe they're still trying to make Nick Kypreos happen. He's awful. I don't get it. Is it because he used to get his face punched a lot as a Leafs enforcer that they think people like him?

-k

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It's more than that: there's no buzz around the Leafs, no star power or sex appeal. The Jays have had success and have a roster of real stars like Donaldson and Bautista. the Raptors are winning with Lowry. Even lowly TFC had success with MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco as their centrepiece. The Leafs are a bad team with no personality. Maybe if they draft Matthews or sign Stamkos next year that will change, but there's no compelling reason to watch this team.

If the Leafs improve-- and with a hockey man like Mike Babcock running the show I think it is inevitable that they will-- I think the fans will invent their own stars. Somebody will be seen as the leader or the guy driving the on-ice success, and he'll be a star. If Toronto was able to turn a scumbag like Darcy Tucker into a hockey hero, they can make anybody into a hockey hero.

-k

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I guess so. I used to think that about Scotty Bowman and Pat Burns because they won cups, though.

Pat Burns made 2 appearances in the Cup finals and won one of them.

In about the same amount of seasons, Babcock made 3 appearances and won one cup.

ETA: Babcock's 2 losses both went to game 7. We could easily be talking about his 3 wins... The difference between 1 and 3 cups for this guy is paper thin.

Edited by The_Squid
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Pat Burns made 2 appearances in the Cup finals and won one of them.

In about the same amount of seasons, Babcock made 3 appearances and won one cup.

ETA: Babcock's 2 losses both went to game 7. We could easily be talking about his 3 wins... The difference between 1 and 3 cups for this guy is paper thin.

I think Ken Holland was responsible for most of the success you listed, but still Babcock is highly regarded by players and management alike. Mike came from a a well managed franchise with great scouting, a phenomenal development system and patience. We'll see if his reputation persists when he's not in the ideal hockey situation. Mike will get a few years grace before fans start to blame him for the mediocrity, hopefully Lou can turn things around in time.

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Well, let's see if he can deal with incompetent owners and plunging interest as this once-great franchises continues to plummet in value to real estate assets + $0.

They're soon going to have a stupid animal mascot on the jersey, as well as finally correcting the 100-year old misspelling of the plural of 'Leaf'

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Regardless of what we think, the big brains in Canadian hockey think enough of him to offer him the job of head coach for the Olympic Team, where he won both times. He is the only coach ever to win Olympic gold, World Championship and a Stanley Cup.

While entirely predictable, it is pretty funny to see Leafs fans turn on Babcock already- well short of half a season since he took over a very poor team with crappy players.

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Regardless of what we think, the big brains in Canadian hockey think enough of him to offer him the job of head coach for the Olympic Team, where he won both times. He is the only coach ever to win Olympic gold, World Championship and a Stanley Cup.

While entirely predictable, it is pretty funny to see Leafs fans turn on Babcock already- well short of half a season since he took over a very poor team with crappy players.

I wouldn't classify said poster as a Leafs fan.

Funny no one calls MLSE incompetent in how they run the Raptors.

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