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Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final attracted 8.5 million viewers in North America, including 4.1 million Americans and 4.4 million Canadians.

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Bulls of the week

Whether they win or lose this weekend – the longest weekend of the year in terms of daylight hours – the Edmonton Oilers have already given the NHL a boost by extending their Stanley Cup Finals series against the Florida Panthers. They have also shown how booming the hockey market is in Canada in every area, from secondary ticket prices and NHL-record in-arena sales to social media mentions and television ratings. Game 5 drew an average of 8.5 million viewers in North America, including 4.1 million Americans watching on ESPN and ABC, and 4.4 million Canadians watching on CBC, Rogers Sportsnet and TVA Sports. While U.S. ratings are up 27 percent from last year, they can't match Canadian numbers, especially per capita, where Canadians outnumber Americans by a 9-to-1 margin for the Stanley Cup Finals.

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With a ticket price of $1,896 for Game 6 tickets at Rogers Place in Edmonton and an average secondary market ticket value of $9,203.83, according to casino.org, the Stanley Cup Final clearly reinforces Canada's continued position as the NHL's economic breadbasket. This is despite the fact that the NHL has had its best US TV rights package ever for three years: seven-year deals with ESPN/ABC ($400 million per season) and TNT ($225 million per season). The Canadian TV deal with Rogers Sportsnet ($500 million per year) is still significantly higher per capita than the US deal. We hope the NHL doesn't forget this when the league finally moves forward with its next round of expansion.

The biggest winners this week, however, are the Boston Celtics and the sports fans in this city. The storied Celtics won their 18th NBA title all-time and Boston has its 13th major title in the last 23 years. That remarkable quarter century includes six Super Bowls for the New England Patriots, four World Series titles for the Boston Red Sox, two titles for the Celtics and a Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins.

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Toronto Blue Jay
Ticket sales and overall attendance are likely to cool off after arch-rival Red Sox swept Toronto at Rogers Centre earlier this week. Photo by Cole Burston /Getty Images

Bears of the week

It's the first day of summer, but it could also be the week that officially ends the Toronto Blue Jays and their dreams of a summer wild-card playoff berth that was supposed to showcase the team's impressive two-year, $400 million stadium renovation. Ticket sales and overall attendance will likely cool off after the archrival Red Sox swept Toronto at Rogers Centre earlier this week. That was the exact opposite of what the Jays needed, dropping them to last place in the AL East. That's how frustrating it has been for the team with the $228 million payroll, the ninth-largest in MLB.

What were the NHL's Washington Capitals thinking this week when they agreed to a trade to acquire underperforming and overpaid center Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Los Angeles Kings? Dubois brings the final seven years of his eight-year contract to the Capitals. His $8.5 million salary cap hit through 2031 makes this a real conundrum. The Kings only have new goalie Darcy Kuemper to show for the three players and draft pick they gave Winnipeg last year to sign the enigmatic Dubois, but that's a pill worth swallowing to get out of his contract.

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Tom Mayenknecht is the host of The Sport Market on Sportsnet 650, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Vancouver-based sports business commentator and principal of Emblematica Brand Builders offers a behind-the-scenes look at the sports business stories that matter most to fans. Follow Mayenknecht at: twitter.com/TheSportMarket.


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