CFL season opener most watched since 2013

Nearly three million Canadians tuned in to watch at least some of Thursday’s CFL regular season opener.

The game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes drew an average of 851,000 viewers across the country. That’s the most watched lid-lifter in the three-down league since 2013 and a 13 per cent increase in average audience over the 2016 season-opening affair.

That’s good news for the league and broadcast partner TSN. While ratings rose be 3.5 per cent last season, that followed a 15 per cent drop in 2015 and seven per cent decline in 2014.  The 2016 Grey Cup was down more than 12 per cent from the year before.

Thursday’s contest was the first for Montreal quarterback Darian Durant against his old club, which undoubtedly helped draw viewers. The game was tight into the fourth quarter and was ultimately decided when Rider kicker Tyler Crapigna missed a potential game-winning field goal on the final play, leading to this Durant celebration.

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