Canadian soccer supporters don't need to feel alone anymore. While attempting to watch the national team has taken many to odd parts of the internet, Saturday was a refreshing change. Not only could Canadian supporters easily find their national team, but they were joined by millions of their neighbors.
The 5.6 million unique Canadians who watched at least part of the game according to a press release by Bell Media is bigger than all of the tournament's host cities populations put together. They joined another record Canadian audience, the 53,058 who watched in Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, AB which constituted the biggest national team crowd ever.
When Christine Sinclair scored the last minute penalty that gave the Canadian team a 1-0 victory over China, the audience peaked at 2.6 million viewers. It truly was the goal felt across the country.
This is good news for Canadian soccer in light of the recent fact that the Canadian Soccer Association has mutually terminated its deal to be shown on Sportsnet and are looking for a new TV partner.
Being able to bring numbers like this before a new partner will greatly benefit Canada's profile as they try to find a deal that will get better exposure for Canadian soccer on television.
TSN is one of the options that Canada should be exploring, and this tournament may be integral to developing a positive relationship with Bell Media products.
Canada's recently demoted number two sports specific channel has the most potential benefit in terms of what they could do for the profile of Canadian soccer across all of their platforms.
They already have a strong broadcast team in place as was made clear in Saturday's broadcast and have been an important player in increasing the profile of Major League Soccer in this country.
Saturday's numbers are just the start for what Bell Media is hoping will be massive audience numbers as the team and the tournament picks up momentum for coast to coast. A lot of that success will have to do with how far the host nation can get in the competition.
CTV will be hoping to follow this success with equally big numbers for Canada's next game, which will come against New Zealand on Thursday. The game will also be played at Commonwealth stadium.