Canadian Football League continues record pace on TV ratings
November 26, 2010
For the second consecutive week, the Canadian Football League set all-time records for its playoff television ratings on TSN.
An average of 2.54 million English and French viewers tuned into TSN and RDS to watch the CFL West Division final that saw the Saskatchewan Roughriders punch their second straight ticket to the Grey Cup and their third appearance in four years with a 20-16 win over the hometown Calgary Stampeders.
The combined national audience made it the most-watched non-Grey Cup CFL playoff game ever, breaking last year’s West Division final between the same two clubs (which averaged 2.2 million in combined English and French viewership).
In the East Division final earlier in the day, an average audience of 1.7 million English and French viewers watched the Montreal Alouettes blast the Toronto Argonauts before a live in-stadium crowd of 58,012 at the Olympic Stadium.
TSN announced its cumulative average audiences have totaled more than 11.2 million viewers for its overall playoff coverage the last two weekends.
The previous week’s CFL division semifinals also broke TSN ratings records, with a cumulative total of 7.2 million – or more than one of every five Canadians and almost one of every three Canadian adults -- watching at least part of one of the two games in Regina and Hamilton.
The games featuring the Roughriders have been the high-water marks each Sunday. Saskatchewan’s 28-25 overtime thriller over the BC Lions averaged 2 million viewers, making it the most-watched CFL divisional semifinal playoff game in the history of television ratings.
BBM confirmed that the audience peaked at 3.3 million viewers going into the overtime. In the East Division semifinal earlier on November 14th, the TSN telecast of the game between the visiting Toronto Argonauts and the hometown Hamilton Tiger-Cats drew an average audience of 1.1 million viewers, peaking at 2 million viewers in the final minute of play.
With a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup between the Montreal Alouettes and the Roughriders on tap for Sunday, analysts – including Tom Mayenknecht of The Sport Market on TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca – are calling for a potential record-setting championship audience.
“The ingredients are there for a large, perhaps best-ever combined national audience,” said Mayenknecht, citing the presence of the Green Riders and the strong following for the Alouettes on RDS, along with curiosity as to the impact of inclement weather conditions on the game. “But the real key is whether the game can hold viewers the way last year’s last-second decision did and the way the Riders have pulled out wins in each of the first two rounds.”
In 2009, the Alouettes’ last-second 28-27 come-from-behind victory over Saskatchewan drove a record combined national audience of 6.1 million viewers for official CFL broadcasters TSN and RDS, confirming the Grey Cup’s status as the single biggest single-day sports event in Canada.
The combined average audience for TSN and RDS last year was almost one million viewers greater than the previous best audience of 5.435 million for the 2002 Grey Cup between the Alouettes and the Edmonton Eskimos, which Montreal won 25-16 before a national English-language audience on then Grey Cup rights holder CBC and a French-language audience of 1.019 million on RDS.
Last year’s game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary saw TSN average 5.087 million viewers while the average audience on RDS was 1.009 million. More than 14 million Canadians watched some part of the game.
TheSportMarket.biz with files from Canadian Press and TSN.ca.