It looks like Canadian’s really missed their beloved Toronto Raptors.
The 2019-2020 NBA season kicked-off with a record 2.6 million Canadian’s tuning in to their television sets as the Raptors’ unveiled their long-waited championship banner and utterly blingy celebratory ring — making it the most-watched regular season game in franchise history to date and one of most watched program(s) since the Raptors’ record-setting championship run that culminated with nearly 7.7 million Canadians glued to their TV’s during the decisive, series clinching Game 6 win on June 13, 2019.
According to Numeris weekly data, ‘The Amazing Race Canada’ series has been the most watched show across Canada since the NBA season ended — holding the weekly top spot from the week of June 17 right on through September 15, 2019, with an average of roughly 2 millions viewers.
For comparison purposes the Toronto Maple Leafs season-opener against the Ottawa Senators drew 1.4 million fans on October 2, 2019. Superbowl LIII (53rd) reached a maximum peak audience of 4.34 million viewers.
The game itself was already highly anticipated when the schedule makers announced it in early summer — it was also centered around the debut of Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft.
Williamson, was unavailable due to a unexpected knee injury that will keep him sidelined for nearly a quarter of the regular season.
Raptors’ forward Pascal Siakam, looking to take a step forward from M.I.P to M.V.P showed-up with a dominant 34-point, 18 rebound, 5 assists double-double before fouling-out. Freddy VanVleet was equally impressive with his own 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting. All-Franchise guard Kyle Lowry come on late with 22 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds as the Raptors’ won 130-122 in overtime over the upstart Pelicans.
Canadian’s from coast-to-coast gathered to watch the once in a lifetime pregame festivities with a average audience of 774k flipping the switch nearly half an hour prior to tip-off.
Despite the departure of Kawhi Leonard the Raptors boast a talented and tight knitted group that should once again challenge to win the Eastern Conference and make a deep playoff run.
It will be interesting to see how the audience numbers fair as the season progresses, and if the Raptors are able to maintain or surpass the 2 million audience mark on a consistent basis. Based on the strong opening game we should expect the Raptors’ to continue to climb the charts across the Canadian media spectrum.