Roughriders push up 2022 CFL preseason TV ratings on TSN

Photo courtesy: B.C. Lions

The CFL played preseason football for the first time in three years and fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders helped boost ratings on TSN.

The entire 2020 CFL season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and it also led to a late start in 2021 when no exhibition games took place. TSN put four of the nine preseason games on television, including Toronto visiting Ottawa, Saskatchewan hosting Winnipeg, the Redblacks going to Montreal and B.C. welcoming the Roughriders.

The Green and White posted the two highest ratings during the tune-up schedule, knowing franchise quarterback Cody Fajardo and the first-team offence would play a substantial amount of the last preseason game in Vancouver. Choosing both Riders games was a smart choice for TSN as anytime Saskatchewan plays, it’s must-see TV for anyone in Rider Nation.

It was surprising to see Hamilton left off the preseason broadcast schedule because the Tiger-Cats traditionally provide strong ratings. The same could be said for the Stampeders and Elks, but the three-letter sports network doesn’t believe it’s financially prudent to put all the exhibition games to air.

Ratings through the 2021 regular season and Grey Cup playoffs — provided below for context — prove that to be a smart decision. These numbers include viewership from TSN only, not its French-language affiliate RDS.

Preseason TV ratings, 2022:

Toronto at Ottawa — 145,000
Winnipeg at Saskatchewan — 212,000
Ottawa at Montreal — 174,000
Saskatchewan at B.C. — 348,000

Average: 219,750

Grey Cup TV ratings, 2021:

Winnipeg vs. Hamilton — 2,873,000

Division finals TV ratings, 2021:

Hamilton at Toronto — 846,000
Saskatchewan at Winnipeg — 1,346,000

Average: 1,096,000

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.