TSN ratings for Manziel’s debut fall short of expectations

While Johnny Manziel may have posted a big TV number for ESPN in the United States – relative to their usual audience – the ratings in Canada were far less impressive.

Manziel’s debut as the starting quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Friday drew just 575,200 viewers for TSN. According to the CFL, another 155,00o people watched on RDS.

While the TSN audience was almost 13 per cent higher than the league average through the first seven weeks of the season, it is far less than the massive number most people were anticipating.

It wasn’t even the most-watched CFL game of the week. Saskatchewan’s matchup with Edmonton on Thursday evening did a huge 907,800 on TSN making it the top-rated game of the season by a wide margin.

The Alouettes terrible start in the game against Hamilton – they were down 28-0 before the first quarter was over – likely played a factor in the ratings as did Manziel’s poor performance. He was pulled after three quarters having thrown four interceptions.

Montreal didn’t get a substantial boost at the gate, either. Attendance for the game was just 18,576, their second-largest home crowd of the season but just a 5.5 per cent increase over their 17,623 average.

The Alouettes are in Ottawa this Saturday to take on the Redblacks. Ottawa has the lowest ratings of any team in the CFL so it will be interesting to see if Manziel can provide a boost.

Week 8 TSN English-language ratings

Ottawa at Toronto: 428,000

Saskatchewan at Edmonton: 907,800

Hamilton at Montreal: 575,200

B.C. at Calgary: 462,700

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1568 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

48 Comments on TSN ratings for Manziel’s debut fall short of expectations

  1. Bombsquad // August 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm //

    Other than the curiosity factor i don’t know why a huge TV audience would be expected, people usually want to watch good football. After it was apparent that this would not be the case CFL fans and other looky loo’s tuned out. The Esks and Riders was by far the more entertaining football game hence the bigger TV audience, two better football teams going at it is far more entertaining.

    • Johnny Nobody // August 7, 2018 at 6:37 pm //

      Priceless what I predicted here: This game was not watched by as many Canadian as the Riders/Shampeeders game.

      “It wasn’t even the most-watched CFL game of the week.”

      “[It was] far less than the massive number most people were anticipating.”
      Yes, but only those who are as Klueless as Kavis. I got it right. And I am right about Manziel not having a future as a QB either. Only those really slow on the uptake still think otherwise.

      Time for the CFL to start marketing the great game that it has rather than the clown it signed for its short-lived and ill-fated sideshow.

      • Way 2 Many Handles // August 7, 2018 at 6:47 pm //

        It’s also time for Glen Suitor and Duane Forde to stop trying to spin it as if Manziel is somebody and actually has a future. I know ultimately they report to the league, but it is embarrassing listening to them knowing they don’t believe a word they are saying. And stop calling a 25 year old womanabuser a “kid.”

  2. Catsfan1867 // August 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm //

    Interesting how the French language numbers are not factored in here. Especially since Manziel does now play for Montreal. I am sure there was a bump there as well as his jersey has been selling like crazy.

    • brian johnson // August 7, 2018 at 4:33 pm //

      Nice they estimate Montreal sold 471 jerseys during the week. Ouch how can they live with all that money
      That helped the CFL or Not. Gee’s still a zero.

      • Show Me the Money // August 7, 2018 at 6:41 pm //

        Wow! 471 Als Manziel jerseys? Even I thought it would be closer to 490. Well I guess Manziel’s agent was right about JHeadcase selling tix and selling jerseys. So that’s what? About $11,000 can he has contributed to the Als bottom line thus far? LOL!!!!

        Well, at least they won’t have to give as many jersey refunds when they release him as the Ti-cats did to their fans.

    • riderontheisland // August 7, 2018 at 5:59 pm //

      they did give those numbers, that’s what RDS is.

    • White Horse // August 7, 2018 at 7:47 pm //

      Way to many handles…Duane Ford and Rod Black etc DO NOT REPORT to the league…they report and are paid by TSN!!!

    • French language numbers ARE factored in – it states “155,000” on RDS

  3. brian157 // August 7, 2018 at 3:38 pm //

    Manziel, barring a miracle, was doomed before the opening kick off. New to the league, new rules, three down football, new terminology, traded to another team, 5 days to prepare with arguably inferior talent….did anyone expect more from him….barring a miracle?

  4. Celine Dion // August 7, 2018 at 3:46 pm //

    You are not factoring in French viewers.

  5. RDS numbers? We don’t really know anything until we get the RDS numbers. And wow! over 900k for the Riders-Eskimos game.

    • True Green // August 7, 2018 at 8:34 pm //

      155,000 RDS Viewers. Drew is good at including those numbers for a full and fair comparison.

    • Was the article updated?

      The first time I read it, RDS numbers were included in the second paragraph.

  6. I am guessing 300,000 french viewers so 875,200

    • At the top of the article it states 155000 for RDS viewers.

    • 155k, which is around average for an ALs game or RDS.
      Total TSN and RDS would be just over 725k, below the Riders game

  7. Jeff Garcia's Agent // August 7, 2018 at 4:23 pm //

    Looks like the same interest to watch the Stamps live in person is the same as watching on TV. Currently drawing 66.16% capacity, which is less than BC. What a joke!

  8. The stampeders game day production is terrible, I was in Regina on the 28th WOW what a show, tailgate to the final whistle. The stampeders have a great team on the field but they don’t seem to try to do anything extra for there fans but have uncomfortable seats and crappy food.

    • Ridersrule // August 7, 2018 at 5:34 pm //

      Are you reading this mr red? Old fan base and the team won’t realize it until it’s to late .

    • Thanks guys for the incredible info on the state of the Stampeder franchise. You are a great source of information for all. Two requests: what are your amazing marketing strategies for Toronto, BC, and Montreal (teams doing way worse than Calgary for attendance) and…can you please fill us in as to how the hell this useful knowledge relates to this article?

    • I’ll make you a deal 6for6
      The rider fans can keep the good food, and comfy seats and we’ll keep the winning football 🙂

      • riderontheisland // August 7, 2018 at 6:05 pm //

        And I’ll make you a deal
        You can keep dominating the regular season (especially early) and the rest of the league will continue to beat you in the Grey Cup.

        • We’ll have this discussion if and when the Riders ever actually make an appearance in the Cup (and not as spectators either).

          • riderontheisland // August 7, 2018 at 6:28 pm //

            What’s really going to suck for the Stamps fans is that the Riders will win another Cup before you and all of your regular season dominance.

  9. MR. Green // August 7, 2018 at 4:58 pm //

    I’m curious from TSN if these number are on par with the 50 million per season they pay the CFL.
    Is a similiar or better deal for the league do-able from TSN? CTV is tied to TSN. CBC has moved on. Sportsnet thinks it’s ESPN, CBS, NBC, Fox and so forth. Not sure if TSN has any bidding competition so that last deal seems generous. Would Sportsnet get in on a bidding war? Besides hockey and the Jay’s, (they share the Raptors) I wonder what what interest they have.
    Point is, do these ratings =50 million per year? I have no idea.

    • Stelio Kontos // August 7, 2018 at 5:59 pm //

      I would cry if Sportsnet got football too.

    • It’s NOT about total viewers but more of the age group that is watching. The most important demographic is the 18 – 40 age group, and the CFL has an older audience.
      By 2022 TSN will have lost more subscribers, especially concerning for TSN since the young audience are not watching TV but stream their programs.

      The CFL can not count on an increased TV revenue, they still have to rely on attendance.

      • “are not watching TV but stream their programs”. I’ve heard that to.
        TFC has pathetic TV numbers but 85 million people stream their games.
        At least that’s what I’m told.

  10. Drew, surprise us one day with something positive to say about the CFL. Give us the RDS numbers. What’s terrible are the games called by Black and Forde. I caught several games while in the U.S over the past 2 weeks and Americans love our game, but many commented on the poor TV production and announcers. TSN wake up, many have said it, time for some new voices! Miller and Dunngan would be a hell of a tandem, how about Burris and Cuthbert with Suits in the studio.

    • Ridersrule // August 7, 2018 at 5:37 pm //

      I agree dunigan does a great job as the color guy . He comments on each play and only about that play . Suitor on the other hand is like a dog with a bone , if a player is chasing a record etc that’s all he talks about .

    • Perry – the RDS numbers are posted above

    • Not sure why you want the RDS numbers that are in the article plus repeated several times in the comments.

      Agree that the commentary can be improved.

  11. Maybe Drew edited the article after many of the comments were made, but in the second paragraph it says 155,000 on RDS for the Manziel game. Meh.

  12. Black and Forde are the worst tandem by far, but Dunigan is terrible on color. He doesn’t know when not to talk. CC and Suits are the best IMHO. I thought Sanchez on the panel was great.

  13. People who are whining about the missing RDS numbers are obviously not reading the article. It says 155k for the MTL game.

  14. riderontheisland // August 7, 2018 at 6:03 pm //

    Did they update this article after all of these posters were discussing the Quebec ratings? From what I can see it’s pretty clear and the additional 155k didn’t do anything to boost the numbers. Now I know when the Als fans cry because the ratings don’t reflect the RDS numbers I can tell them that it won’t make much difference. Maybe an actual circus was in town and that’s why no one came to see the Als version of a circus. Sorry Als fans lots of respect by Kavis is killing it for me.

  15. The RDS number was added later. There should be a “last edited” line with the time for these articles.

    That’s a disappointing number for RDS, and it suggests that they’re starting to tune the Als out. Ambrosie really needs to work on getting this team sold to a good local owner.

    • Gonetoofar // August 8, 2018 at 4:30 am //

      I read the article when there were only a handful of comments and the 155,000 number was stated then.

    • Let’s face it the CFL is not a big draw on RDS, they put the non-Als games are on RDS2.

  16. I don’t share in the whining about the TSN game productions. They do an excellent job, and I like all of the personalities they have on the panel and in the booth. People just need something to complain about, I guess.

    • riderontheisland // August 7, 2018 at 6:30 pm //

      I’m with you GG except the Suitor drives me f*ckin crazy. Outside of that I totally enjoy.

  17. MR. Green // August 7, 2018 at 7:39 pm //

    The commentators don’t bug or get to me. I really don’t care. I’m more focused on the game.

  18. White Horse // August 7, 2018 at 7:59 pm //

    Does anyone in Canada really care about RDS numbers? TSN does a great job with the CFL and that is what all of us care about!!

    • TheLastArgoFan // August 8, 2018 at 5:48 am //

      Since RDS is the french language version of TSN, yes people in Canada care about RDS numbers.
      What a weird question!

    • Of course people should care about the RDS numbers.

      Beyond that missing them can mislead one about the numbers watching – you think that the Als can stay healthy with few French speaking fans?

      As for TSN coverage being great – why is the commentor saying the correct stat while the graphic puts up the wrong one?

      Why in the showcase grey cup game did the half time banner show the Calgary logo/score labeled as Ottawa RedBlacks while the RedBlacks logo/score was labeled Edmonton Eskimoes (an all West GC supposedly)? Reversing labels is one thing but adding a new team???

  19. True Green // August 7, 2018 at 8:40 pm //

    Esks and Riders, well done on attracting fans and running organizations with committed fan bases! Highest attended game and most viewed game, also one of the best games I’ve watched this season.

    Esks have a very good stadium and a great game day experience. I love going to see my Riders play in their house.

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