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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 18, 2020
The Canadiens and the Penguins paved the way as television viewers answered this question with a resounding yes: Will fans watch hockey in August?
While the arenas are empty for the NHL Return to Play tournament, the wall-to-wall television coverage attracted a large audience. Eight of the 10 top-rated telecasts in Canada last weekend were NHL or NBA games produced by Sportsnet.
Game 1 of the Canadiens-Penguins matchup drew an average audience of 1.6 million Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada and 5.7 million viewers tuned in at some point during the evening. There was a peak audience of more than 3 million during the overtime.
In Quebec, Game 1 drew an average of 709,000 viewers on TVA Sports with a peak of 945,000, while Game 2 on Monday had an average of 803,000 and a peak of 1.055 million.
The Toronto-Columbus game on Sunday had the highest average audience at 1.78 million, but the total reach was only 4.4 million. The Calgary-Winnipeg game had an average of 1.66 million viewers with a total reach of 3.8 million.
The Toronto numbers might have been down a bit because it was a long weekend in Ontario and many Torontonians fled the city for cottage country.
The Montreal-Pittsburgh game also attracted the largest audience for NBC’s weekend coverage. The game drew 1.529 million viewers, making it NBC’s most watched game of the 2019-20 season, excluding the Winter Classic. It was also 42 per cent larger than NBC’s average audience for the season.
NBC reported an average audience of 760,000, which was up 91 per cent over the regular-season average. NBC also had an average audience of 407,000 for its digital platforms and that was an increase of 126 per cent.
Sportsnet also carried the Raptors-Lakers NBA game Saturday on Sportsnet One and CITY and it drew an average of 890,000 viewers with a total reach of 2.59 million. It was the second most watched Raptor regular-season game in Sportsnet history.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020