Canadian QB Nathan Rourke edges out Riders for most-watched CFL game in Week 3 on TSN

Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/BC Lions

You know the Nathan Rourke hype has gained real traction when the B.C. Lions draw higher television ratings on TSN than the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Rourke’s second straight record-setting performance was the top-rated game among English language viewers on TSN in Week 3. He completed 39-of-45 passes (86.7 percent) for 436 yards with four touchdowns against zero interceptions in leading the Leos to a 44-3 dismantling of the Toronto Argonauts.

Despite being in the 10 p.m. eastern time slot with the outcome never really in doubt, viewers kept it tuned to Rourke as he set the single-game passing yards record by a Canadian quarterback. Even though all-star receiver Bryan Burnham left before halftime with broken ribs, Rourke continued to move the offence and led the unit to points, which was entertaining.

The Riders usually go unchallenged for the biggest TV audience each week, but being blown out by Montreal from the opening kick-off onwards did not help intrigue and prevented late-arriving viewers. It’s rare for Saskatchewan to take a backseat to any other team — especially during the regular season — when the weekly ratings come in. The fact Rourke edged out the green and white on the first official weekend of the summer in Canada displays the growing excitement for a homegrown star at the game’s sexiest position.

Surprisingly, the Grey Cup rematch between the Tiger-Cats and Blue Bombers posted the lowest viewership of last week’s CFL slate.

There was some competition that night with Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche (2,191,200 average viewers combined between Sportsnet and CBC) plus 595,800 people watched Toronto Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah record his MLB-leading ninth win.

2022 Week 3 TV ratings:

Saskatchewan at Montreal — 442,600

Hamilton at Winnipeg — 393,500

Edmonton at Calgary — 399,600

Toronto at BC — 464,500

Total Week 3 average: 425,050

(These numbers do not include viewership from RDS, TSN’s French-language affiliate.)

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