Report: Canucks’ regional broadcast ratings down 27% this season

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Empty seats at Rogers Arena, a soft resale market for tickets and plummeting local television ratings are a sign of the times for the Vancouver Canucks. 

The regional broadcast ratings for Canucks games are down by 27 percent so far this season, according to a recent report from Yahoo!’s Chris Zelkovich. The Canucks aren’t the only Canadian team that has seen their regional ratings fall, but they’re the only Canadian team that has seen a drop of more than 10 percent.

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It would seem that the Canucks, currently stumbling along with 30 points in 31 games this season, are failing to capture the imagination of the city. We’ve seen in the past that Vancouverites are relatively more reluctant to support the club through leaner periods when compared with many of the fanbases on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. This would seem to be another indication.

Here’s more commentary on the ratings drop from Scott Moore, the president of Sportsnet and Rogers NHL Operations (full disclosure: I am a regular contributor to and have also written for Sportsnet the magazine). Moore specifically highlights the Canucks’ team-level issues as a reason for the drop in regional television ratings.

“The real driver of all of this is team performance and interest in the regions,” Moore told Yahoo!. “The Leafs and Canucks are concerns for us, especially because they are our two biggest markets.

“The Leafs have had a bit of an upswing in the last month. People are starting to see there’s some discipline … and that there’s a plan that seems to be playing out. In Vancouver, which is a very fickle market at the best of times, and that team’s performance has been concerning.”

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Despite an infusion of youth and the Sedin twins’ resurgence, it’s clear that Vancouver’s hockey fans are skeptical about this club. Even more so than they were last season. 

The increasingly widespread disaffection of a once ravenous fanbase has to be a major concern for the organization. Vancouver’s hockey fans are savvy enough to know what the team they’re watching is likely capable of. While this Canucks team could probably still eke out a playoff spot, it isn’t a stretch to suggest that the city is voting against any win-now moves with their remote controls and their wallets. 

As we approach some key pressure points for the club – whether it’s the 40-game barrier for 19-year-old forwards Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen, or the NHL trade deadline on February 29 – will the increasing sense of apathy in the Vancouver market impact the Canucks’ decision making? It probably will. It probably should. 

– with h/t to /r/canucks

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    This was all so predictable. Gillis knew it. The fans knew it.

    For the millionth time, maybe F. Aquilini will actually listen now that his coffers are weining. Yes this fan base is fickle. But it’s not that they wouldn’t support a team that isn’t doing well, they just won’t support a team where they have no idea what the plan or direction is. Like the current team. They haven’t been a quality hockey team since Gillis left. Yet they’re not bad enough to get the 1st over all pick. They are lucky enough to get the playoffs in a crappy division, but not near good enough to win a Cup. They are no rebuilding, but are inserting youth in the lineup despite them not being ready. So you tell me, what’s the plan. Whats the direction?

    Since BEnning took over, he’s thrown away players and draft picks for no return. He’s handed out assets like candy and degraded this team. He’s handed out god awful contracts that the league is laughing at, yet he public blames the previous regime despite being given (at the time) a top 6th over all pick, best assistant GM and negotiator in the league (that he won’t even use now), best asset to value player contracts in the league, coming off the best draft possibly ever in CAnicks history, had all draft picks for 2014 draft, season ticket wait list, a destination players still want to play in – and many many more. Now, it’s all the opposite under Benning.

    And the smart people knew this would happen. Aquilini was so desperate to build a team like Boston that he brought in the wrong guy as GM, and tried to sell a smart fanbse that this “no plan- plan” was a good idea. And it’s blown up in their faces.

    Good. Karma. But the Sedins deserve better. Way better, so shame on the Aquilinis.

    It’s time for a complete reuiblind. Give me a team who will eventually win a Cup and i will support it. But I won’t support this uneducated misfit regime that is currently in place

    • Gary Empey

      What does bad enough to get number one pick mean? They are currently three points up from the basement of the conference. And they are currently four points up from the league basement. So yes, they are very much bad enough for the number one pick. But in a lottery system, being the worst doesn’t guarantee you anything (see: Sabres 2015).

      I think you overvalue GMMG’s talent as a roster builder. His last draft with the Canucks is still a question mark. And the ones before were all train crashes. It was GMMG who was handed the Sedins, Edler, Luongo, Kesler, Burrows. He improved the margins, but was hardly building a long-term threat to win the Cup.

  • Ragnarok Ouroboros

    I don’t mind losing if our compete level is high

    We can beat the best teams in the league if we play like I know they can play

    It just seems like everyone but the first line is there just to collect their paychecks.

    It’s just hard to see the boys play like they do

    Has Willie lost the ears of the boys?

    Don’t know what is going on but the team lacks motivation in my opinion

    All ways have been and always be a canucks fan. No jumping off the bandwagon for this guy…it is tempting to do sometimes but I will maintain faith that we will have our cup parade one day

  • andyg

    I am a casual Canucks fan but haven’t been to a game or watched one on TV in ages. It’s just not accessible to everyone anymore. I use to watch on CBC and go to the occasional game but now that Rogers has taken over broadcasts just paying to watch games on TV is incredibly expensive, it’s not worth it to the casual fan who’s done’t have cable TV. You’ve alienated me through the high cost of being a fan.

    With cord cutting accelerating you’re going to lose more and more casual fans over time because committing to the high cost of being a fan is too much. And who’s going to pay that premium when the team isn’t producing.You need fans who will follow you through good times and bad. The NHL miscalculated fans consumption habits with the Rogers deal. Get it back on the CBC where the masses can watch.