Canadian men’s curling championship final ratings down 33% from 2020

Team Alberta skip Brendan Bottcher, centre, directs his teammates as Team Wild Card Two skip Kevin Koe, left, looks on during the Brier curling final in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, March 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Ratings for the Canadian men’s curling final tumbled significantly compared to the championship game in the 2020 season.

Brendan Bottcher defeated Wild Card Two’s Kevin Koe on Sunday night at Calgary’s Markin MacPhail Centre for his first career Tim Hortons Brier title.

The final drew an average audience of 728,000 viewers, down 33 per cent from the 1.09 million who watched the year before, according to Numeris data provided by rightsholder TSN.

The drop follows a similar ratings decrease for last month’s Canadian women’s curling championship, the first of seven major events to be held in the spectator-free Canada Olympic Park venue.

READ MORE: U.S. sportswriter ‘seduced’ by curling after binge-watching bonspiel 

Numbers for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final between Team Canada’s Kerri Einarson and Ontario’s Rachel Homan were down 30 per cent from the 2020 title game. The Manitoba skip successfully defended her title in another close matchup.

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The 2020-21 domestic curling tour calendar was quite limited due to COVID-19. Other sports have experienced similar ratings declines after pausing due to the pandemic.

Bottcher was also in last year’s Brier final in Kingston, Ont., losing to Brad Gushue’s team from Newfoundland and Labrador.

In addition to including a team from the East Coast, that final had a different timeslot as play began at 7 p.m. ET, 90 minutes earlier than this year’s final.

After jumping out to a 4-1 lead after three ends, Gushue was in control of last year’s 7-3 victory.

The all-Alberta Bottcher-Koe matchup was tighter, with Koe conceding in the 10th end of the 4-2 decision.

READ MORE: Alberta’s Bottcher beats Koe 4-2 to win Canadian men’s curling championship for first time 

Overall, this year’s 10-day competition was watched by 5.2 million Canadians, according to TSN. Live streaming rose by 63 per cent and there were two million video starts, more than triple last year’s total.

There were also over seven million page views of Brier content, a jump of almost 50 per cent from 2020, the network said.

Watch below: (From March 5, 2021) The Brier is underway at WinSport. It’s the second of six major curling events in Calgary set to bring in millions of dollars amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Jackie Wilson reports.

Click to play video: 'The Brier is underway in Calgary as major curling events expected to bring in millions' The Brier is underway in Calgary as major curling events expected to bring in millions
The Brier is underway in Calgary as major curling events expected to bring in millions – Mar 5, 2021

The Canadian mixed doubles championship is next on the calendar in the so-called curling bubble. The eight-day competition begins Thursday.

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Bottcher will represent Canada at the April 2-11 world men’s curling championship, which will be followed by the April 14-18 Champions Cup and the April 20-25 Players’ Championship.

Einarson will wear Canada colours at the April 30-May 9 world women’s curling championship.

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