#CanadianSportsTVSoWhite? Can you name a single black curler (image via Bell Media)
The Raptors are leading the NBA’s Atlantic Division and have the second most wins of the Eastern Conference, but judging by the ratings they’ve been pulling in, you might think they were having a nightmare of a season like the 76ers. (For those of you who don’t know, which I assume is all of you considering the dreadful Raptors numbers, The 76ers are at eight wins and a good 56 losses for the season as I write this sentence.)
The Raptors’ highest rated game of the weekend was its match against the Trail Blazers, which drew in 379,000 viewers on TSN. That was good enough for ninth place for the entire weekend. So what bested the Raptors? A hell of a lot of curling and hockey, naturally. Draws 1-5 of the Tim Hortons Brier ranged from 381,000 to 579,000 viewers. Hometown Hockey and of course Hockey Night in Canada bested the Raptors, too. (The weekend’s Brier and HNIC numbers are notably down a tad, though.)
However, this is far from the worst the Raptors have seen in recent weeks. Sometimes games would even draw fewer than 200,000 viewers even though the Raptors are probably one of the NBA’s strongest teams at the moment.
But time for a pop quiz. Let’s play “One of These Things is Not Like the Other” with curling, hockey and basketball. (If you read my post
on the recent Numeris Top Programs chart earlier this week, you might know where I’m going with this.)
Can you name a black hockey player? Well, if you can’t there’s this handy list of Black NHL players on Wikipedia
. Yeah, that’s a thing now. According to it, there are fewer than 30 Black players currently playing in the NHL. If you take away the bi-racial players, you’re left with around 11. And without spending too much time on Wikipedia to the point I get sucked into one of those Wikipedia “black hole” time sucks, some of those players listed under “Active” don’t appear to be playing in the NHL at the moment.
Last question. Can you name a black NBA player? That’s an easy one. There are around a dozen black players on the Raptors roster
So much like the entertainment side of Canadian television where most shows featuring a cast primarily of people of colour languish in the ratings until they’re yanked off TV, like Scandal and Empire, it also seems like sports where many of the players are black also suffer in the ratings and are thrown on the back burner. It’s not uncommon to see Raptors games pushed off to the sparsely watched TSN2 and Sportsnet One. Can you say the same about curling or hockey?
I suppose you could argue if that race was a factor the NFL and CFL would languish in the ratings, too because both leagues have a lot of black players, but the number of players of colour and white players seem to be closer to parity than with the NBA. There also appears to be a number of notable white football players, too. That’s just a general observation, though.
So are Canadians less attached to the Raptors because the majority of the players are black? Who knows? But their sour ratings despite being one of the best teams out there is quite curious nonetheless.
For more on the weekend’s top sports, check out Yahoo Sports Canada at the source link.