Toronto Raptors' TV Ratings Show That Canadians Finally Taking Interest in Team

Mohammad Arshad@@WahajArshadCorrespondent IApril 29, 2014

Toronto Raptors fans hold up a Canadian flag during the second half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets Friday, April 25, 2014, in New York. The Nets won the game 102-98. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II

While the Toronto Raptors’ post-season run has created a huge buzz in the city, it appears that Canadians nationwide have finally taken notice of the team’s hard-fought series against the Brooklyn Nets, as well.

Bell Media announced today that Game 4 of the series drew 885,000 viewers across Canada. That number peaked to 1.46 million during the fourth quarter of the game as the Raptors held on to edge the Nets 87-79.

The high viewership numbers have immediately set multiple new records when it comes to televised basketball games in Canada.

Game 4 now becomes the second most-watched Raptors game in franchise history, behind only Toronto’s Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001 during the height of the “Vinsanity” days.

The game also attracted more viewers than any other first-round playoff game in the history of NBA playoffs on Canadian television.

It’s important to note that the Raptors are the only NBA team left in Canada following the departure of the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis following the 2000-01 season.

Toronto has taken advantage of that exclusivity, calling itself “Canada’s Team” on numerous occasions. The Raptors have also started a popular media campaign for the playoffs called “We The North".

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Canadians are often thought of by outsiders to be only interested in hockey when it comes to sports. And while hockey is no doubt the most popular sport in the country, these viewership numbers and the way the Raptors have been received by the country have proven the invalidity of that common stereotype.

Oh and speaking of hockey? Bell Media also revealed that Game 4 was watched by 20.5% of all potential viewers in the Greater Toronto Area, more than any NHL playoff game.

With the series tied 2-2 and Game 5 to be played on Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre, there’s a chance that the ratings for that game will be even higher than they were for Game 4.

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