The television ratings for TSN’s coverage of the 2020 CFL draft increased exponentially.
Reporter Farhan Lalji hosted from his living room in B.C. as TSN worked around the coronavirus restrictions to provide a two-hour broadcast of the first and second rounds. Draft guru Duane Forde was the star as the audience more than doubled the 2019 number.
The broadcast attracted an average audience of 73,000 viewers, up 116 percent year-over-year. There was a total of 428,000 unique Canadians who tuned in at one point or another throughout. It’s the highest TV audience for a CFL draft on TSN since 2014.
Perhaps the intrigue of where Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke would end up boosted the attention. Rourke was chosen by the B.C. Lions in the second round with the 15th pick. He was the ultimate wildcard going into the talent grab and added a rare element to the CFL draft, which doesn’t often have high-end quarterbacks as the focal point like the NFL.
One week earlier, TSN aired the first round of NFL draft in the same time slot. The 32 picks took over three hours to complete and the average audience was 187,600. Rounds two and three (otherwise known as Day 2) of the NFL draft drew 61,100 and Day 3 was less than 41,000 — it didn’t rank among the top 10 sports broadcasts on Saturday, April 26.
Overall, the draft numbers display a Canadian thirst for football.