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