Ron Burgundy a ratings hit for TSN

December 04, 2013  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

Ron Burgundy was literally in the house for TSN last weekend, leading to record audiences for the sports channel’s curling coverage.

The Bell Media channel reported Monday that the audience for the opening draw of the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings curling event was up 38% over its previous airing in 2009, attracting an average audience of 632,000.

The audience peaked at more than 900,000 when comedian Will Ferrell, in character as his Ron Burgundy character from the upcoming feature film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, co-hosted the coverage with TSN’s longtime curling announcer Vic Rauter.

“We expected a bump, but 38% is pretty substantial,” said TSN’s director of communications Greg McIsaac. “I was in Winnipeg for the event and just the reaction from the city was fantastic.”

Video views of TSN’s Roar of the Rings coverage on TSN.ca also increased, while the event also lit up social media channels.

The program was conceived in late summer, when Ferrell’s publicity team contacted the broadcaster about a potential content marketing opportunity. “They were going to do something in North Dakota (Ferrell’s character co-anchored an evening newscast on KX News in Bismarck, N.D. on Sunday) and wanted to know if there something happening in Winnipeg,” said McIsaac.

“They saw the Roar of the Rings and that TSN was the broadcaster, so they reached out to us directly to see if we could work together directly on what was a great cross-promotional activity,” he added. “It was good content for us, nice exposure for the character and just a fun event for the curling community too.”

Ferrell has been all over North American media outlets in advance of the Dec. 18 opening of Anchorman 2. U.S. sports channel ESPN announced Tuesday that his Burgundy character will host the 6 p.m. edition of its sports news program Sports Center on Thursday.

While it was conceived as more of a content play, Paramount Pictures, the studio behind Anchorman, also ran standard advertising units in the broadcast. TSN is also airing a sit-down interview between James Duthie and Ferrell (not in character as Burgundy) that showcases some of his most memorable sports-related sketches.

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