Dramatic Riders win props up TV ratings, but it was still the worst week of the CFL season

Photo courtesy: CFL

It is officially fall which means plenty of competition for pro sports leagues, especially the CFL.

Teams in the NHL are preparing for the fast-approaching puck drop on the regular season while NBA franchises are doing the same for tip-off. The NFL is one month into their comprehensive schedule. Playoff races are about to be decided in Major League Baseball with the Blue Jays trying to secure an American League Wild Card spot.

Canada’s MLB squad took on the Minnesota Twins Friday night at the same time as the Alouettes and Argos matched up by the Lakeshore. The Jays lost a 3-1 ball game at Target Field and in the mean time the Boatmen held on to win 30-27. Over twice as many people watched the Blue Birds — 756,100 to be exact.

In all fairness, the Jays are in a late-season, hotly contested battle for a post-season ticket with two AL East rivals, the Yankees and Red Sox. Meanwhile, the Als and Argonauts were playing a mid-season game. That’s key context when analyzing the numbers, but according to the data the three-down league had its worst TV week of the 2021 season.

Saskatchewan’s beloved football team did their best to boost the overall viewership. Cody Fajardo led a last minute, game-winning touchdown drive at BC Place for the Roughriders to take a dramatic 25-24 lead and eventually win 31-24 after Damon Webb returned a fumbled kick-off by Lucky Whitehead to the end zone.

That was the most entertaining ending to a CFL game so far this year, but the late kick-off time on the West coast undoubtedly hurt the final rating. The average audience checked in at 617,600 and beat the other two tilts in Week 8 by a country mile.

Important note: mid-week CFL football games don’t rate well.

Week 8 TV ratings:

Hamilton at Ottawa: 337,600

Montreal at Toronto: 338,700

Saskatchewan at B.C.: 617,600

Total Week 8 average: 431,300

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