Roughriders trounce Blue Jays in head-to-head TV ratings on Saturday night

Photo courtesy: Arthur Ward

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have been referred to as Canada’s team and the television ratings from Week 2 provided a real claim to the title.

The Blue Jays are the Major League baseball team many Canadians cheer for.

On Saturday night while the Blue Birds were taking on the Seattle Mariners, more people in our home and native land were watching the Riders roll over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Mosaic Stadium.

Both games started at 10 p.m. ET, which was 8 p.m. ET in Regina. That means the broadcasts were going head-to-head for TV viewers.

The Jays were leading 3-2 until the Mariners reeled off seven straight runs in the seventh and eighth innings combined to win handily 9-3. While the Riders scored 23 unanswered points to improve to 2-0 with a convincing win against the Ticats.

An average audience of 463,000 watched the Blue Jays on Sportsnet compared to 671,000 fans tuning in to see the green and white live on TSN. It’s notable because the Jays are in a race for an American League Wildcard playoff spot with lots of young stars and often out-rate CFL games.

That was the first part of the prairie double.

As a qualifier: there was an hour-and-a-half start time difference between the Blue Jays and Argos versus Bombers on Friday night. Winnipeg was putting the finishing touches on a 20-7 victory as the first pitch was being thrown in Seattle.

It was a ball game that came down to the ninth inning with a close call at home plate going against the visitors and a walk-off walk by the Mariners completing a 3-2 final. 590,200 was the average audience for the Jays loss compared to 596,200 consuming Winnipeg’s triumph.

Beating the Blue Jays twice was part of a second straight week of improvement year-over-year for the three-down league’s average ratings compared to the same week in 2019. The viewership was up 33 percent, although those contests took place in late June, not mid-August.

Week 2 TV ratings:

Thursday
B.C. at Calgary: 522,000

Friday
Toronto at Winnipeg: 596,200

Saturday
Montreal at Edmonton: 495,000
Hamilton at Saskatchewan: 671,000

Total Week 2 average: 571,050

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.