Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez delivers overhead smash to 2021 Banjo Bowl TV ratings

Photo courtesy: U.S. Open

Leylah Fernandez captured the imaginations of Canadians from coast to coast and drew a large television audience for her 2021 U.S. Open Final at the world’s largest tennis venue in New York City.

Fernandez made an improbable run to the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which holds over 23,000, and Canada was behind her sending positive energy through TV sets across the country. Her match against Toronto-born, British 18-year-old Emma Raducanu started at 4 p.m. ET and attracted an average audience of 1,173,900 on TSN1.

That match-up started at the same time as Winnipeg hosting Saskatchewan in the 17th annual Banjo Bowl on TSN3. After nearly one million fans tuned into the 56th Labour Day Classic, viewership dropped by over 400,000 for the prairie rivals clashing at a sold out IG Field. Even though the score was tight at halftime, the Blue Bombers knocked out Cody Fajardo and ran away with a 33-9 win.

The Blue Jays also damaged the CFL ratings with a doubleheader on Saturday. Canada’s MLB team took on Baltimore and produced a comeback from five runs down to win 11-10 in the first game and scored 11 more in game two to sweep the Saturday set. 622,100 watched the afternoon epic — George Springer was the hero with a two-run home run — and 935,300 checked out the night cap.

Bo Levi Mitchell returning from a broken leg might have played a role in the Labour Day rematch number being higher than the game played on the holiday Monday. Mitchell was solid if unspectacular in his first game back behind centre while the Stampeders ran roughshod over the Edmonton Elks 32-16.

The Ontario CFL teams had an especially poor week, the Tiger-Cats, Argonauts and Redblacks all played in games that had less than 400,000 viewers. It’s the first week during the CFL season that had two games below that mark, which resulted in the first sub-500,000 average week for the three-down league in 2021.

Week 6 TV ratings:

Hamilton at Toronto: 361,800

Saskatchewan at Winnipeg: 550,900

Calgary at Edmonton: 593,100

Ottawa at B.C.: 358,200

Total Week 6 average: 466,000

(Note: Week 1 of the NFL season averaged 550,700 across the 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. games, Sunday Night Football was the highest at 613,800.)