According to Chris Zelkovich of the Star, Toronto FC will have a hard time getting ratings on Saturday night because Toronto FC have been very slow out of the gate announcing their TV package. While he is certainly correct in his observation that TFC have probably hurt their exposure by not getting the word out earlier, I have to disagree with Zelkovich that this will be the reason Toronto FC will suffer in terms of ratings for their first match.
Toronto FC will have poor ratings because this is first and foremost, Toronto Maple Leaf territory. The Leafs happen to be playing in their most important game in the last few years on Saturday night, the final day of their regular season, against rivals the Montreal Canadians. This alone will overshadow anything, and everything else, that gets in the way. Coupled with a late local start at 10:30, the TFC ratings are set to be bad. So Zelkovich can start writing his headline now, as we can all anticipate a negative review on Monday.
Come to think of it, the 10:30 start, now looks like a bit of a God send, considering the Leaf game should be over by then. Of course, those of you heading out to bars to watch Toronto FC should be prepared to miss the pregame show on FOX Sports World. Not sure how many bars are going to turn away from their hockey coverage for an MLS pre game show, even those with official TFC viewing parties.
Lets face it, as long as the Toronto Maple Leafs are alive in the playoff hunt, there is little any other sports team can do in this market to get any serious attention from media and the mainstream fan- not the Raptors, not the Jays, and certainly not our beloved Toronto FC.
It is a tough time of year to break in a new franchise in an already crowded sports marketplace. The Leafs are inching towards a playoff birth, and could make a run if they get in. The Raptors will be in the playoffs for the first time in years, and are apparently looking good. Then we've have the Blue Jays. With support on the decline over the last decade or so, at least at the gate, in the vacuum that is Skydome (Rogers Centre), the Jays can still draw a pretty decent television audience, fueled surely by the growing Senior Citizen Community, now too old to attend in person (to baseball fans I'm just teasing). I was actually given a free pair of pretty decent season opener tickets for Monday - that will never be used. After leaving in the second inning of a Yankees game a few years back (again freebies), I have vowed never to return. I personally can't tolerate baseball (I apologize to all my American readers, but baseball is dying a slow death in these parts) Besides, Monday night is my annual playoff hockey pool, which is much more important. This is also Masters weekend and the end of March Madness I believe. Here is the link to the Zelkovich article which is a lead in to his next article that will surely show Toronto FC as a ratings disaster. http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/200294
In other television news - the Montreal Impact have announced a television package with Radio Canada (CBC) as part of their commitment to growing the sport in Canada after securing the domestic World Cup rights deal. I look forward to catching a few games if the local Radio Canada station in Toronto picks up the coverage.