The CFL got its butt kicked on TV by the NFL last Sunday.
The Montreal Alouettes game against the Ottawa Redblacks started at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday, meaning it went head-to-head with early NFL games on CTV. The results weren’t pretty.
The CFL game drew an average audience of 190,000 on TSN while the NFL contest registered 461,000. The Toronto Blue Jays, who started just after 2 p.m. EST, drew an average audience of 516,000 – despite the team being more or less out of playoff contention.
In fact, the CFL game was the 10th most watched sports broadcast on English-language television – the numbers here don’t reflect RDS – on Sunday. More people watched NASCAR (203,000), Formula One (223,000) and the NHL pre-season game (313,000).
The game was marred by technical difficulties early on and wasn’t particularly close or compelling, save the self-immolation performed by Montreal quarterback Darian Durant. It was the lowest-rated game of the CFL season.
Saskatchewan’s win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night was the most-watched game of the weekend, drawing an average of 561,000 viewers on TSN.
Week 13 was something of a return to earth for the league after two strong weeks. The Labour Day game between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg drew 818,000 while the second-half of the home-and-set between Calgary and Edmonton posted 751,000. However, no CFL game has topped 1 million viewers on TSN this season.
Overall, ratings are down more than 13 per cent from last year’s 592,000 average on TSN, though late-season and playoff games should help that number considerably – especially if the Riders remain in contention.