Last nights issue of The Globe and Mail reveals how TSN, the Canadian equivalent of ESPN, turned the IHF World Junior Hockey Championships ito a gold mine. Though many in the United States might not know it, the World Juniors began yesterday in Buffalo and will continue until January 5th. The tournament features hockey players under age 20, many of whom are already close to joining the NHL or will be drafted in June.
Starting in 1991, TSN launched a full-fledged effort to make the tournament a mainstream attraction in hockey-hungry Canada. Over the next 20 years the event grew, due in large part to Canada’s consistent success, until it exploded last year with 5.4 million viewers for the Gold Medal game between Canada and the US, which the US won.
It’s easy to see that basically anything hockey-related will score high ratings in Canada, but interest in the United States is also growing. Last year’s surprising victory drew some national attention, and this year the NHL Network will again pick up the United States’ games.
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