Worst for last: TV ratings take major hit in final week of 2021 CFL season

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

The television ratings for the final week of the 2021 CFL season were the worst of the entire shortened schedule.

Edmonton visiting Toronto on Tuesday, November 16, the game that was rescheduled due to the Elks coronavirus outbreak in August, registered the lowest single TV number of the campaign.

It was the first three-down match-up this year below 200,000 average viewers. There was a rerun of Murder She Wrote an episode called ‘Showdown in Saskatoon’ that had a bigger audience tuned in.

There was nothing on the line between the Elks and Argos, Edmonton had been eliminated from the playoffs while Toronto already clinched first place in the East Division. That meant it was a glorified pre-season game and the announced attendance of 6,247 reflected it.

Unfortunately for the CFL and its TV partner TSN, the last week had little meaning in terms of the post-season, especially after the Redblacks upset the Alouettes. Montreal’s loss gave Hamilton home field for the East Semi-Final.

As one league executive said: “Only in the CFL you don’t schedule exhibition games but you get them at the end of the regular season.” That’s true for at least a handful of games at the end of an NFL regular season to be fair, but the ratings for the leagues are in different stratospheres.

For a ninth straight week, the three-down league checked in with less than 500,000 average viewers across the five-game slate.

Week 16 TV ratings:

Edmonton at Toronto: 167,000

Ottawa at Montreal: 324,700

Edmonton at B.C.: 347,800

Saskatchewan at Hamilton: 407,600

Winnipeg at Calgary: 409,400

2021 CFL season:

Total Week 16 average: 331,300

Total Week 15 average: 478,625

Total Week 14 average: 490,425

Total Week 13 average: 429,775

Total Week 12 average: 492,650

Total Week 11 average: 407,333

Total Week 10 average: 482,360

Total Week 9 average: 469,925

Total Week 8 average: 431,300

Total Week 7 average: 519,650

Total Week 6 average: 466,000

Total Week 5 average: 562,975

Total Week 4 average: 510,100

Total Week 3 average: 525,400

Total Week 2 average: 571,050

Total Week 1 average: 526,950

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