A cloudy West Division playoff picture and the race for the East crown has given the CFL a late-season ratings bump.
Viewership on English-language TSN for last week’s slate of games was up nearly 19 per cent from the same time a year ago as all five teams in the West are still in playoff contention and the East Division title remains undecided.
Saskatchewan’s win over Calgary led the way with an average audience of 734,800, putting it in the top-10 most watched games this season. The Riders average audience is now over 700,000 per game, a 15 per cent jump from last season and a remarkable number when you consider the population of the province of Saskatchewan is just shy of 1.2 million.
B.C.’s key win over the Edmonton Eskimos posted a respectable 583,100 in viewership, well above their respective season averages.
The 486,200 that tuned in to Hamilton’s loss to Ottawa is on the lower side for the Ticats, who average almost 535,000 per game, but it’s a solid number for the Redblacks who are last in the CFL with an average TV audience of 457,000 this season.
Even the battle of non-playoff teams did… OK. The 315,200 that tuned in to watch the three-win Alouettes take on the three-win Argonauts was the second-lowest number of the season (only a Calgary-Ottawa matchup in Week 5 was worse) but it’s still an improvement over the 226,000 that watched non-playoff squads Hamilton and Montreal battle it out in Week 18 of 2017.
Three of the four games on this week’s slate have post-season implications and all four games in Week 21 could mean something. Either way, the CFL looks all but assured to see a regular season ratings improvement over last year.
Week 19 ratings
Hamilton at Ottawa: 486,200
Edmonton at B.C.: 583,100
Montreal at Toronto: 315,200
Saskatchewan at Calgary: 503,500
Week 19 (2018) vs. Week 18 (2018): +18.9 per cent
Year-to-date (73 games) vs 2017 (73 games): +5.5 per cent