CFL ratings report: Why the CFL doesn’t like Sundays

After a steady run of positive numbers, the CFL and broadcast partner had their second-worst showing of the season last week.

Ratings for the four games were down 2.7 per cent over the same period last year and the average audience of 476,925 topped only the 431,633 that tuned in for Week 5 – a three-game slate that included a Saskatchewan Roughriders bye week.

So what led to the drop?

Well, blowouts in Calgary (over Toronto) and Hamilton (over B.C.) didn’t help: the Ticat game, with an average audience of 428,200 was also their second-worst number of the year. The Winnipeg game in Edmonton was watched by 504,100 people on TSN (a decent number) but that’s a significant drop from the 657,000 who tuned in for a Week 15 matchup between those two clubs in 2017. Bomber ratings are down more than five per cent this season, the lone blemish on an otherwise up year for the CFL so far.

Even the Saskatchewan Roughriders game against Johnny Manziel and the Montreal Alouettes didn’t produce gaudy numbers. While it was still the highest-rated telecast of the week (569,800) it barely topped the Riders season low of 568,200 from Week 2.

The game was one of only four regular-season contests the CFL will play on Sunday (with just two after Labour Day) and with good reason – the league does not want to go head-to-head with the NFL. While there are different NFL games broadcast across the country on CTV at 1 p.m. which makes it hard to compare numbers, the NFL Sunday night game on TSN between Pittsburgh and Baltimore had an average audience of 711,700 – which would have made it a Top 10 rated CFL game this season.

Week 16 ratings

Toronto at Calgary: 405,600

B.C. at Hamilton: 428,200
Winnipeg at Edmonton: 504,100

Saskatchewan at Montreal: 569,800

Week 16 (2018) vs. Week 15 (2017): -2.7 per cent
Year-to-date (61 games) vs 2017 (61 games): +5.7 per cent

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