2021 Bombers-Riders Labour Day Classic clash most watched regular season CFL game on TSN in six years

Photo courtesy: CFL

There was a technical glitch which delayed the official TV ratings from Labour Day Weekend, perhaps it caused by the massive number produced by the Bombers and Riders.

Winnipeg traveled to Mosaic Stadium for the 56th annual Labour Day Classic on Sunday, September 5. The anticipation was high after the 2020 edition was cancelled, just like the entire CFL season last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blue Bomber stars Andrew Harris and Willie Jefferson talked that talk and walked that walk in a decisive 23-8 win. Nearly one million viewers tuned in on TSN along with a sold out crowd on hand in Regina.

The average audience was 979,700 which yielded the largest number for a regular season three-down game on the three-letter network since 2015 — there was a match-up that drew over one million that year. In the coveted 25 to 54 age demographic, 320,800 had televisions on for the classic.

Overall, 125,300 more people watched the prairie rivalry on the 2021 holiday weekend than compared to two years ago — 14 percent increase. Yes, the rivalry boosts ratings, but the fact year-over-year direct comparisons are up has to be a major positive for the CFL and it’s TV partner.

It could’ve been a larger weekend for Canada’s pro football league, however 809,600 watched the Blue Jays shutout the New York Yankees 8-0 on Labour Day Monday in a ball game that was played at 1 p.m. ET, the same time the Argonauts and Tiger-Cats kicked off.

Despite the competition from the Jays making a push for an American League Wild Card spot, it’s now five consecutive weeks to begin the season that TSN has seen an average weekly viewership above 500,000.

Week 5 TV ratings:

Montreal at Ottawa: 255,800

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan: 979,700

Toronto at Hamilton: 435,900
Edmonton at Calgary: 580,500

Total Week 5 average: 562,975

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